Babies Feel Good People

Nov 22, 2007
Scientists found that babies prefer to reach for individuals who help others (helpers) rather than those who interfere with other's goals (hinderers) or stay neutral.

Karen Wynn, professor of psychology and senior author of the study, J. Kiley Hamlin the leading author and Paul Bloom, professor of psychology and a third author from Yale University discovered that our perception of other people is a result of biological adaptation rather than a learned ability.
During a study, 6 and 10 months old infants took part in the experiments where their preferences were evaluated by recording which of two actors they shown they reached for.

There were three experiments, where babies were watching over a wooden character with glued-on eyes named "the climber". The character was located at the bottom of the hill, then he tried to climb it in one situation being helped by a triangular character and in other situation hindered by a square character.
After that, scientists examined infant's attitudes towards both characters and found out that 14 out of 16 10-months old babies and all 12 6-months old babies reached for "the helper".

Ina second test, where the scientists tried to exclude the possibility of babies' response to movements of the figures, all the infants showed their preferences for helper to the neutral character and neutral character to a hinder.

These experiments proved that evaluation of the other person plays a great role in social interaction and processing of a social world. Infants, who had no experience with any of the characters, could evaluate the helpful person from unhelpful simply by watching, which is very important for their future development of moral reasoning.

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