Learning from Friendly Faces

Learning from Friendly Faces

SoCal Lab (University of California, San Diego)

Who Can Participate

12- to 13-month-old babies.

What Happens

This study will take place on a video call, live with a researcher! Clicking on the “Schedule a time to participate” button will send you to an online calendar where you can select a date and time that works for you.

We like people who are kind to us and to others, but do we also learn better from those individuals? In this study, your baby will watch one character be happy for another's success, while the other character isn't. Each character will then explain what a new object is called. We ask if your baby learns the name of the object better if they hear it from the nice versus the not-nice character.

What We're Studying

We know that babies prefer nice individuals over not-so-nice ones – they pick them more often and are more willing to reward them. Adults think people who empathize with others are nicer, but we don't know if babies also think they're nicer. And if babies do think empathizers are nicer, they may also prefer to learn from them.

In this study, we ask whether babies prefer to learn the name of a new object from an empathizer compared to a character who did not empathize with someone else. This would tell us whether babies evaluate empathy and use empathy as a cue for who best to learn from which is important for social learning!


15 minutes


Participants will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card for completing the study with an experimenter. The gift card will be sent within 24 hours after the appointment is complete. Only one gift card per participant and the participant must be in the age range for the study to receive the gift card.

This study is conducted by Lindsey Powell (contact: ljpowell@ucsd.edu).

Would you like to participate in this study?