Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hard Wired for Social Interactions

There have been entire books written on how to enhance skills needed for successful social interactions. No doubt many adults can use the help. It turns out, however, that the human brain is hardwired for many social abilities. This means those abilities can function immediately and don’t have to be taught (although that’s not to say that many times they could be enhanced through learning). Studies by Hamlin, Wynn, and Bloom showed that infants ages 6-10 months were able to evaluate the observed behaviors of others and figure out who was being helpful and who was not. This is, of course, would be an obvious advantage to tiny human beings who require years of personalized care just to survive. The infants were shown a video in which an animated triangle with eyes attempts to make it up a hill. In the video, the triangle is either helped by a push from a circle or impeded by a push from a square. After the video, the infants were given a choice of a circle or a square offered on a tray. They grabbed the “helper” circle. More tomorrow.

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