Social Understanding is Present in Toddlers

The Daily Mail Online reports that toddlers may have more social awareness than previously recognized. A study was conducted with 2 and 3 year old children to determine what they understood of group norms and expectations. Children observed an adult refer to an action as “daxing” and then, later, saw a puppet say that she would “dax.” When the puppet’s action did not match the adult’s, the children objecting by saying things like, “It doesn’t work like that” and, “You have to do it like this.” These types of comments reference the earlier exposure to the made-up activity. It suggests that toddlers understand what is done correctly and when samples do not match the original example.

Other Interesting Findings

  • Toddlers only applied expectations to those of a group, primarily that looked or sounded the same.
  • Toddlers only apply expectations to those they perceive as being in “their” social group (i.e., other people who are similar to them).
  • Children can learn about social norms by observing adults who “expect things to work a certain way.”
  • Children can apply social norms to appropriate groups and settings, at a very early age (by the age of 3 years old).

Access to the original studies can be requested here.

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One Response to Social Understanding is Present in Toddlers

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