Do children understand social acting?
Tan, Si Ying
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social acting refers to pretence acts performed by people to avoid conflicts and maintain positive relationships. Past research has shown that understanding of white lies, which is a form of social acting, is demonstrated in children as young as 3 years old. In this study, we investigate children’s expectations of social acting behaviours towards ingroup and outgroup members, given that ingroup bias is shown to be present since infancy. 12- to 18-month-old Singapore children were shown videos of an individual either pretending to enjoy a biscuit (Social Acting) or expressing dislike towards the biscuit (No Social Acting) in front of another individual from the ingroup or outgroup. Using the violation-of-expectation (VOE) paradigm, we measured participants’ fixation duration right after the test action. Our results showed that participants looked equally long when the individual performed social acting towards both ingroup and outgroup members. This suggests that children in Singapore generally expect social acting behaviours, regardless of whether the other individual is from the ingroup or outgroup. In addition, participants looked significantly longer when the individual expressed dislike in front of an ingroup member, compared to an outgroup member. This suggests that children in Singapore find the act of expressing dislike in front of an ingroup member unexpected. By exploring the understanding of social acting in children of a younger age group, this study aims to contribute to the field of infant’s social cognition.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University