Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Factors of social partners' selection: who helps/harms others (signal of how someone may act towards ourselves) & who acts like/unlike others (capacity for coordination)

The selection of social partners based on the moral actions of the group vs. the individual. Brandon M. Woo, Jason Paul Mitchell. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: The ability to select appropriate social partners enables the human species to better navigate the social world. Research has demonstrated that at least two factors influence the selection of social partners, even as early as infancy: (i) who helps vs. harms others (Hamlin et al., 2007), as a signal of how someone may act towards ourselves; and (ii) who acts like vs. unlike others (Powell & Spelke, 2018), as a signal of someone’s capacity for coordinated action. Although people have studied these two factors, they have done so independently. It is unknown whether these two factors interact. At times, they may even come into conflict. In the present study, we presented 128 participants with agents who help others, harm others, or do a non-moral action after the agents’ friends either have done the same thing, have done a different thing, or have not done anything. Participants rated people who acted like vs. unlike their friends as a better potential friend: (i) when the friends did a non-moral action; and (ii) even more strongly when the friends helped others. When the friends harmed others, however, participants rated people who acted like vs. unlike their friends as a worse potential friend.

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