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Two studies tested how children (N = 196) use a framework theory of the social world to (a) shape their expectations of and (b) guide new learning about social behaviors. In Study 1, when introduced to two novel social groups, children predicted that an agent would preferentially harm members of the other group, be friends with members of their own group, and save members of their own group from harm. In Study 2, 4-year-old children who had been shown evidence of prior inter-group and intra-group interactions predicted that future behaviors would match the evidence they were shown only if the interactions they observed were consistent with their expectations of how members of groups should relate to one another. Thus, children use their framework theory to predict social behaviors and guide new learning about the social world.
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