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dc.contributor.authorCheon, Bobbyen_US
dc.contributor.authorEsposito, Gianlucaen_US
dc.identifier.citationCheon, B., & Esposito, G. (2020). Brief exposure to infants activates social and intergroup vigilance. Behavioral Sciences, 10(4), 72-. doi:10.3390/bs10040072en_US
dc.description.abstractAmong humans, simply looking at infants can activate affiliative and nurturant behaviors. However, it remains unknown whether mere exposure to infants also activates other aspects of the caregiving motivational system, such as generalized defensiveness in the absence of immediate threats. Here, we demonstrate that simply viewing faces of infants (especially from the ingroup) may heighten vigilance against social threats and support for institutions that purportedly maintain security. Across two studies, participants viewed and rated one among several image types (between-subjects design): Infants, adult males, adult females, and puppies in Study 1, and infants of varying racial/ethnic groups (including one's ingroup) and puppies in Study 2. Following exposure to one of these image types, participants completed measures of intergroup bias from a range of outgroups that differed in perceived threat, belief in a dangerous world, right-wing authoritarianism and social-political conservatism (relative to liberalism). In Study 1 (United States), stronger affiliative reactions to images of infants (but not adults or puppies) predicted stronger perceptions of a dangerous world, endorsement of right-wing authoritarianism, and support for social-political conservatism (relative to liberalism). Study 2 (Italy) revealed that exposure to images of ingroup infants (compared to outgroup infants) increased intergroup bias against outgroups that are characterized as threatening (immigrants and Arabs) and increased conservatism. These findings suggest a predisposed preparedness for social vigilance in the mere suggested presence of infants (e.g., viewing images) even in the absence of salient external threats.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipAgency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipMinistry of Education (MOE)en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNanyang Technological Universityen_US
dc.relationSSS-Startup Grantsen_US
dc.relationH17/01/a0/A11 & H18/01/a0/B11en_US
dc.relation.ispartofBehavioral Sciencesen_US
dc.rights© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
dc.subjectSocial sciences::Psychologyen_US
dc.titleBrief exposure to infants activates social and intergroup vigilanceen_US
dc.typeJournal Articleen
dc.contributor.schoolSchool of Social Sciencesen_US
dc.contributor.schoolLee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine)en_US
dc.contributor.organizationSingapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, A*STARen_US
dc.description.versionPublished versionen_US
dc.subject.keywordsParental Care Systemen_US
dc.subject.keywordsIntergroup Biasen_US
dc.description.acknowledgementThis research was supported by Nanyang Technological University SSS-Startup Grants, Singaporean Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund (RG149/16) and A*STAR under its IAF-PP Food Structure Engineering for Nutrition and Health Programme (GRANT ID No: H17/01/a0/A11 & H18/01/a0/B11). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of A*STAR.en_US
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