Infants’ Moral Compass
University of Illinois
How do infants evaluate individuals’ actions toward others? I will suggest that the moral sensitivities that underlie these early evaluations are best characterized as a moral compass, with distinct sociomoral principles leading infants to form nuanced expectations about what actions are acceptable or unacceptable in specific contexts. My talk will focus on two principles in particular, fairness and ingroup support. With respect to fairness, I will present evidence that even young infants possess an abstract notion of equity. Next, I will present experiments on two corollaries of the principle of ingroup support, ingroup care and ingroup loyalty. These experiments indicate that when watching interactions among unfamiliar adults in minimal groups, infants hold different expectations for interactions within and between groups, in line with prior research with older children and adults on ingroup favoritism in minimal groups.