Social status matters, even to infants between 10 and 16 months old, according to a new study by two University of California, Irvine cognitive scientists. Published online in Current Biology, the research found that in staged confrontations between two puppets, babies preferred the one who deferred. “Infants recognize basic indicators of high and low social status, like in a right-of-way conflict where one person bows down and lets another one pass,” said co-author Barbara Sarnecka, an associate professor of cognitive sciences.

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