News Release

Infants' expectations for leaders and bullies

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Familiarization Trials Introduced Study Participants to either the Leader or the Bully

image: Familiarization trials introduced study participants to either the leader or the bully, denoted by respect-based or fear-based leadership, respectively. In the test trials, participants observed the protagonists' different responses to leader or bully instructions. view more 

Credit: PNAS

A study that included 96 infants, around 21 months of age, suggests that infants can discriminate between respect-based and fear-based power structures; in the study, infants who viewed animations of interactions between three protagonists and a character depicted either as a leader or a bully expected the protagonists to continue to obey a leader's order after the leader left the scene, but the infants expected the protagonists to obey the same order, when given by a bully, only if the bully was present in the scene.


Article #18-01677: "Infants distinguish between leaders and bullies," by Francesco Margoni, Renée Baillargeon, and Luca Surian.

MEDIA CONTACT: Renée Baillargeon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL; tel: 217-333-5557; e-mail: <>

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