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Social norms are foundational to human cooperation and co-existence in social groups. A crucial marker of social norms is that a behavior is not only shared, but that the conformity to the behavior of others is a basis for social evaluation (i.e., reinforcement and sanctioning), taking the is, how individuals usually behave, to an ought, how individuals should behave to be socially approved by others. In this preregistered study, we show that 11-month-old infants grasp this fundamental aspect about social norms already in their first year. They showed a pupillary surprise response for unexpected social responses, namely the disapproval and exclusion of an individual who showed the same behavior like others or the approval and inclusion of an individual who behaved differently. That preverbal infants link the conformity with others' behavior to social evaluations, before they respond to norm violations themselves, indicates that the foundations of social norm understanding lie in early infancy.

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Infant, Humans, Social Norms, Social Behavior, Reinforcement, Psychology