My ERC starting grant application passed to the second round, but was not funded. It proposed that infants may possess evolved core concepts for critical mechanisms of social coordination such as reciprocity, gratitude and ownership and that they may also use, and recognize, general abstract structural forms (e.g. for pyramids, cliques) as Bayesian priors for predicting the prototypical manner in which social interactions will likely unfold.
Using looking-time methods, it also provided pilot evidence that
a) preverbal infants expect novel (cartoon) agents to reciprocate and share back to a former benefactor, rather than share with someone new;
b) preverbal infants expect that grateful agents are more likely to reciprocate than ungrateful ones;
c) preverbal infants possess representations of proto-ownership where they use first possession as a cue such that they expect whoever got to a resource first will maintain a contested ressource (all else being equal)
d) preverbal infants can use the structural pyramidal form of hierarchy to predict dominance outcomes, such that they expect an agent from the top of a pyramid will prevail over an agent from the bottom of it. This is not simply a function of vertically: If the pyramid is inverted, infants hold no expectation as to who will yield and prevail.
One particular reviewer faulted the application for not using neuropsychological methods and not testing cross-culturally.
I will address both these critiques in my resubmission. I disagree with this one reviewer that EEG studies are particularly informative in infant studies. I will instead include a pupillometry component as an indicator of infant arousal to unexpected events. This makes sense scientifically, because infants appear to react emotionally to social norms violations (e.g. not sharing back) when watching our stimuli. We will also test cross-culturally using online zoom sessions.
I will include pilot data for both in my resubmission for the ERC
POS-ERC-Støtte til ERC søkere som oppnår god evaluering