Toddlers map the word 'good' to helping agents, but not to fair distributors

Laura Franchin, Federica Savazzi, Isabel Cristina Neira-Gutierrez, Luca Surian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infants begin to understand some of the meanings of the adjective good at around thirteen months, but it is not clear when they start to map it to concepts in the moral domain. We investigated infants' and toddlers' knowledge of good in the domains of help and fairness. Participants at 20 and 30 months were shown computer animations involving helpful and hindering agents, or agents who performed fair or unfair distributions, and were asked to "pick the good one". Toddlers at 30 months took good as referring to helping, but not to the fair agents. However, when asked "to pick one", they choose the fair distributor. These findings suggest that by 30 months toddlers have started to map good to some socio-moral features, such as a helping disposition, but not to fairness in distributive actions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Language
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • fairness
  • good
  • help
  • infancy
  • moral development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)


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