Preferences and Social Interactions

Preferences and Social Interactions

Interpersonal Development Lab (University of California, Merced)

Who Can Participate

For children between 12 and 14 years, currently residing within USA

What Happens

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

During this study, your child will watch 3 one-minute videos. In these videos, a central character reacts to peripheral characters hugging each other. After watching each video, participants will be asked 1 question: Which peripheral character the central character preferred (participants will be provided with 2 options and will be asked to pick their answer from the options). We are interested in whether children of your child's age can use others' interactions and behaviors to understand their desires and preferences! Once you sign up for a slot using the "participate now" button, a researcher will be in contact with you with a zoom link!

What We're Studying

Previous research has indicated that children use others' emotions and behaviors to deduce their preferences and desires, when these behaviors are expressed in non-social situations (situations involving just 1 person). Our research aims to add to previous work by investigating whether children make such inferences from others' expressed emotions and behaviors even when the behaviors are expressed in interpersonal, social situations involving multiple people. Given the number of social situations humans are subject to daily, the ability to use a social partner's interpersonal behaviors to understand their mental states (such as their desires and preferences) is an important one. Therefore, we are interested in how this ability develops in humans.


The entire session will take around 30 minutes. However, this includes time required to set up our screens and prepare for the activity. Your child will only be required for 10-15 minutes


To thank you for your interest and participation with us, you will receive a $5 Amazon gift voucher. Note that, participants must be (1) within the specified age-range (between 12 and 14 years); (2), present and visible during the assent process and (3) currently residing within the USA to receive compensation. The assent process is when the researcher explains the study to your child and asks them if they want to take part (this process occurs before the child watches the study's videos). After completion of the study session, the researcher will immediately email the amazon gift code.

This study is conducted by Eric Walle (contact:

Would you like to participate in this study?