Using emotions to understand the social world.
From nearly the start of life, infants attend to others emotional expressions. Why? What information are they looking for? Emotions can provide infants with much useful information about the world, enabling them to, for example, decide whether a given situation is safe or dangerous, as when using social referencing. But do infants use emotions even in non-emotionally-heightened situations to solve everyday problems? Often times emotions are studies in a vacuum but in reality we often make complex inferences from others’ emotions such as who they like or what they like. This line of research explores the flexibility of using emotions to reason about the broader social world.