Babies aware of social dominance by 10 months (Study, CORDIS)

“By the time they are 10 months old, babies are aware of social dominance and know that if 2 individuals come into conflict, the bigger one will likely prevail, new US-Danish research shows. The findings, published in the journal Science, suggest that we are either born with an understanding of social dominance or develop it at a very early age. The ability to identify individuals that are more dominant helps infants learn the structure of their social environment and guides them in their interactions with others. […]
Professor Thomsen comments: ‘What we have shown is that even pre-verbal infants understand social dominance and use relative size as a cue for it. To put it simply, if a big and a small guy have goals that conflict, preverbal infants expect the big guy to win over the little guy.’ ”

Thomsen, L., et al. (2011) Big and mighty: preverbal infants mentally represent social dominance. Science 331: 477-480. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199198.

or the corresponding video (3:30 min)

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