文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2011-01-28 03:30 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

Psychologists at Harvard University have found that infants less than one year old understand social dominance and use relative size(相对大小,相对量) to predict who will prevail when two individuals' goals conflict. The finding is presented this week in the journal Science. Lead author Lotte Thomsen says the work suggests we may be born with -- or develop at a very early age -- some understanding of social dominance and how it relates to relative size, a correlation1 ubiquitous(普遍存在的) across human cultures and the animal kingdom. This knowledge may help infants face the formidable(强大的,可怕的) challenge of learning the structure of their social environment, specifying2 ways of recognizing who is socially dominant3 in their particular culture.

"Traditional kings and chieftains(酋长,首领) sit on large, elevated thrones and wear elaborate crowns or robes that make them look bigger than they really are, and subordinates often bow or kneel to show respect to superior humans and gods," says Thomsen, a research fellow in Harvard's Department of Psychology4 and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Copenhagen. "Many animals, like birds and cats, will puff5 themselves up to look physically6 larger to an adversary7(对手,敌手) , and prostrate8 themselves to demonstrate submission9, like dogs do. Our work suggests that even with limited socialization, preverbal human infants may understand such displays."

Thomsen and colleagues at Harvard and the University of California, Los Angeles, studied the reactions of infants ranging from 8 to 16 months old as they watched videos of interactions between cartoon figures of various sizes.

"Since preverbal infants can't be interviewed, their experiences and expectations must be assessed by their behavior," Thomsen says. "Infants tend to watch longer when something surprises them. So we can test hypotheses about what they expect by measuring how long they look at scenarios10 that either violate or confirm their expectations."

The researchers showed infants videos depicting11 a large and a small block with eyes and mouth bouncing across a stage in opposite directions. Next, infants watched the two blocks meet in the middle, impeding12(临近的) one another's progress. They then saw either the large or the small block bow and step aside, deferring13 to the other.

"As predicted by our theory, the infants watched much longer when a large agent yielded to a smaller one," Thomsen says. On average, the babies watched this unexpected outcome for 20 seconds, compared to just 12 seconds when a smaller character made way for a larger one.

In a follow-up experiment, Thomsen and her co-authors found that eight-month-old infants failed to grasp the significance of the larger block deferring to the smaller one. But those who were 10 to 16 months old consistently demonstrated surprise at depictions of a larger individual yielding to a smaller one, suggesting that this conceptual understanding develops between 8 and 10 months of age.

Two other follow-ups showed that infants' reactions were not simply caused by the expectation that smaller individuals tend to fall over in general, including in situations that do not involve conflicting goals.

"Understanding what makes humans' rich conceptual repertoire14(全部节目,计算机指令系统) possible is one of the formidable challenges of cognitive15 science," says co-author Susan Carey, the Henry A. Morss, Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology at Harvard. "Part of meeting this challenge is specifying the initial state: What representational resources are infants born with that enable further learning? Our work shows that apparently16, infants come prepared to understand abstract aspects of their social world."

In recent decades, scientists have learned that the infant mind creates abstract representations of intuitive physics, psychology, and mathematics. It has also been shown that young infants represent aspects of the social world, such as tracking whether other agents help or hinder third parties. These representations constitute part of what babies need in order to understand collaboration17 and cooperation in the world.

"The studies we report here are the first to show that young infants also understand events where agents have conflicting goals, and have ways of predicting which of two agents will prevail," Carey says.


1 correlation Rogzg     
  • The second group of measurements had a high correlation with the first.第二组测量数据与第一组高度相关。
  • A high correlation exists in America between education and economic position.教育和经济地位在美国有极密切的关系。
2 specifying ca4cf95d0de82d4463dfea22d3f8c836     
v.指定( specify的现在分词 );详述;提出…的条件;使具有特性
  • When we describe what the action will affect, we are specifying the noun of the sentence. 当描述动作会影响到什么时,我们指定组成句子的名词。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
  • Procurement section only lists opportunistic infection drugs without specifying which drugs. 采购部分只说明有治疗机会性感染的药物,但并没有说明是什么药物。 来自互联网
3 dominant usAxG     
  • The British were formerly dominant in India.英国人从前统治印度。
  • She was a dominant figure in the French film industry.她在法国电影界是个举足轻重的人物。
4 psychology U0Wze     
  • She has a background in child psychology.她受过儿童心理学的教育。
  • He studied philosophy and psychology at Cambridge.他在剑桥大学学习哲学和心理学。
5 puff y0cz8     
  • He took a puff at his cigarette.他吸了一口香烟。
  • They tried their best to puff the book they published.他们尽力吹捧他们出版的书。
6 physically iNix5     
  • He was out of sorts physically,as well as disordered mentally.他浑身不舒服,心绪也很乱。
  • Every time I think about it I feel physically sick.一想起那件事我就感到极恶心。
7 adversary mxrzt     
  • He saw her as his main adversary within the company.他将她视为公司中主要的对手。
  • They will do anything to undermine their adversary's reputation.他们会不择手段地去损害对手的名誉。
8 prostrate 7iSyH     
  • She was prostrate on the floor.她俯卧在地板上。
  • The Yankees had the South prostrate and they intended to keep It'so.北方佬已经使南方屈服了,他们还打算继续下去。
9 submission lUVzr     
  • The defeated general showed his submission by giving up his sword.战败将军缴剑表示投降。
  • No enemy can frighten us into submission.任何敌人的恐吓都不能使我们屈服。
10 scenarios f7c7eeee199dc0ef47fe322cc223be88     
  • Further, graphite cores may be safer than non-graphite cores under some accident scenarios. 再者,根据一些事故解说,石墨堆芯可比非石墨堆芯更安全一些。 来自英汉非文学 - 环境法 - 环境法
  • Again, scenarios should make it clear which modes are acceptable to users in various contexts. 同样,我们可以运用场景剧本来搞清楚在不同情境下哪些模式可被用户接受。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
11 depicting eaa7ce0ad4790aefd480461532dd76e4     
描绘,描画( depict的现在分词 ); 描述
  • a painting depicting the Virgin and Child 一幅描绘童贞马利亚和圣子耶稣的画
  • The movie depicting the battles and bloodshed is bound to strike home. 这部描写战斗和流血牺牲的影片一定会取得预期效果。
12 impeding 8qtzd2     
  • Fallen rock is impeding the progress of rescue workers. 坠落的石头阻滞了救援人员的救援进程。
  • Is there sufficient room for the kiosk and kiosk traffic without impeding other user traffic? 该环境下是否有足够的空间来摆放信息亭?信息亭是否会妨碍交通或者行走? 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
13 deferring d2cd9fb6ccdde7a0a9618fb4ae1b4833     
v.拖延,延缓,推迟( defer的现在分词 );服从某人的意愿,遵从
  • Recently, the Supreme Court has focused on an additional reason for deferring to administrative agencies. 最近,最高法院强调了尊重行政机构的另一种理由。 来自英汉非文学 - 环境法 - 环境法
  • Think of it as deferring part of the compiler's job to runtime. 可以认为这是将编译器的部分工作延迟到了运行时。 来自互联网
14 repertoire 2BCze     
n.(准备好演出的)节目,保留剧目;(计算机的)指令表,指令系统, <美>(某个人的)全部技能;清单,指令表
  • There is an extensive repertoire of music written for the flute.有很多供长笛演奏的曲目。
  • He has added considerably to his piano repertoire.他的钢琴演奏曲目大大增加了。
15 cognitive Uqwz0     
  • As children grow older,their cognitive processes become sharper.孩子们越长越大,他们的认知过程变得更为敏锐。
  • The cognitive psychologist is like the tinker who wants to know how a clock works.认知心理学者倒很像一个需要通晓钟表如何运转的钟表修理匠。
16 apparently tMmyQ     
  • An apparently blind alley leads suddenly into an open space.山穷水尽,豁然开朗。
  • He was apparently much surprised at the news.他对那个消息显然感到十分惊异。
17 collaboration bW7yD     
  • The two companies are working in close collaboration each other.这两家公司密切合作。
  • He was shot for collaboration with the enemy.他因通敌而被枪毙了。
TAG标签: social human infants