Selectivity in Early Prosocial Behaviour
Valerie Kuhlmeier, Queen’s University, Canada
Within the animal kingdom, humans are unique in the frequency and complexity with which we engage in other-oriented, prosocial behaviors. We are exceptional in our ability to provide aid to others across a wide variety of contexts — and in response to a diversity of needs — even within the first few years of life. In this talk, I will present recent research from my laboratory, as well as from colleagues and collaborators, that aims to define the types of prosocial behaviors observed in very young children. Then, I will focus on the early development of selective prosociality toward certain individuals, inspired by the ‘partner choice’ evolutionary model for the maintenance of reciprocal systems. Together, this work is beginning to shed light on the factors that encourage or discourage prosocial behavior in our early social interactions.