The Formation of Belief-Based Social Preferences

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The Formation of Belief-Based Social Preferences

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Title: The Formation of Belief-Based Social Preferences
Author: Heiphetz, Larisa; Spelke, Elizabeth S.; Banaji, Mahzarin R.

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Citation: Heiphetz, Larisa, Elizabeth S. Spelke, and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 2014. The formation of belief-based social preferences. Social Cognition 32, no. 1: 22–47. doi:10.1521/soco.2014.32.1.22.
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Abstract: Beliefs are invisible contents of the mind, yet young children appear able to reason about beliefs in their minds and those of others. In three experiments, the authors explored the previously unanswered question of the manner and extent to which young children assess types of beliefs. In Experiment 1, 6- to 9-year-old children preferred peers who shared their own beliefs across several belief domains (fact, preference, and ideology) but selectively attributed prosocial behaviors only to those who shared their religious ideology. In Experiments 2 and 3, children additionally attributed prosocial behaviors to those who shared their ideological beliefs rather than to those who shared their behavior. Together, these experiments demonstrate that children form social preferences based on unobservable mental states and that they weigh ideological beliefs particularly strongly when making morally relevant behavioral attributions.
Published Version: doi:10.1521/soco.2014.32.1.22
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33471134
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