Helping and Cooperation at 14 Months of Age

Authors

  • Felix Warneken,

    Corresponding author
    1. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Germany
      Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. E-mail: warneken@eva.mpg.de
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  • Michael Tomasello

    1. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Germany
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Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. E-mail: warneken@eva.mpg.de

Abstract

Two experiments investigated the proclivity of 14-month-old infants (a) to altruistically help others toward individual goals, and (b) to cooperate toward a shared goal. The infants helped another person by handing over objects the other person was unsuccessfully reaching for, but did not help reliably in situations involving more complex goals. When a programmed adult partner interrupted a joint cooperative activity at specific moments, infants sometimes tried to reengage the adult, perhaps indicating that they understood the interdependency of actions toward a shared goal. However, as compared to 18- and 24-month-olds, their skills in behaviorally coordinating their actions with a social partner remained rudimentary. Results are integrated into a model of cooperative activities as they develop over the 2nd year of life.

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