Monday, December 17, 2007

Babies like Good Samaritans

This is fascinating: a study out of Yale found that children as young as six months will select Good Samaritans. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor:

"The study released last month presented babies with a diorama-like display of an anthropomorphic circle struggling to make it up a hill. Just when it appeared that all hope was lost, a heroic triangle appeared, and pushed the circle to the top. The round climber bounces, clearly elated to have reached the summit. The same scenario is played out again, only this time a square appears at the top of the hill and pushes the circle to the bottom.
The babies were then asked to pick a toy – the helper or the hinderer, as scientists called them. One hundred percent of 6-month-olds and 87.5 percent of 10-month-olds chose the helper. The results were consistent even when the triangle and the square swapped places as good guy and bad guy. In several other iterations of the experiment, the helper, regardless of shape or color, won out
. "
'Babies are very competent socially,' says Kiley Hamlin, lead author of the study. 'They can figure this kind of stuff out without people explicitly teaching what's nice and not nice and who's nice and who's not nice.'"

I was surprised that babies so young could recognize, and choose a Good Samaritan.

Technorati tags: , ,

No comments: