Everybody loves a winner — even toddlers, according to a study published Monday. But even though kiddos tend to like high-status individuals, they don’t like those who win conflicts by using force.
“It seems like toddlers care about who wins, but they also care about how they win,” says Ashley Thomas, now a researcher in cognitive development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.
In recent years, scientists have devised experiments to show that babies and young toddlers not only notice the social interactions happening around them, but also actively evaluate them.
Thomas, who was then a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, wondered if toddlers understood the concept of social status. After all, adults constantly have to navigate situations that involve people of different rank and prestige, and it can be helpful to have friends in high places.
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