Social Category Inference Tasks with Children

This project, beginning in Early Childhood and Primary classes during the Fall Quarter, examines which cues children use to categorize and make predictions about others. There are a variety of dimensions along which people may vary and resemble each other. However, adults treat only some of these as relevant to judging others and guessing how they will behave when information is limited. Our goal is to compare the development of these social categorization decision rules in two different cultural contexts (highland Peru and urban US) from childhood to adulthood. Some methods measure how children extrapolate from one character to an array of other characters that vary along several visual dimensions. Other methods incorporate auditory cues of social variation and measure memory for what the various characters said in a conversation. All the methods we are using to do so, use fictitious characters to probe belief formation about strangers and none will require video taping or audio recording. This study is conducted by Cristina Moya, Elise Waln and Dr. Rob Boyd, from the UCLA Department of Anthropology. If you have any questions about this research, please contact Cristina Moya at (310) 310-633-0909, or