Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Babies Prefer Good Samaritans

Date:
November 26, 2007
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
In the first evidence of its kind to date, researchers find that infants prefer individuals who help others to those who either do nothing, or interfere with others' goals.

In the first evidence of its kind to date, Yale researchers find that infants prefer individuals who help others to those who either do nothing, or interfere with others' goals.

Related Articles


"This supports the view that our ability to evaluate people is a biological adaptation--universal and unlearned," said the authors of the study.

The study included six-and-10-month-old babies whose preferences were determined by recording which of two actors they reached towards.

In the first experiment, infants saw a wooden character with large glued-on eyes known as "The Climber." At first, the climber rested at the bottom of a hill. The climber repeatedly tried without success to make it up the hill and was then either helped to the top by a triangular character that pushed the climber from behind, or hindered by a square character that pushed the climber down the hill.

During the test phase--after the infants had sufficiently processed the events--the researchers measured the infants' attitudes towards the helper and hinderer by seeing which characters they reached for. Fourteen of the 16 10-month-olds, and all 12 six-month-olds, preferred the helper. A second experiment ruled out the possibility that the infants were merely responding to the direction in which the figures were moving. In a third experiment, infants of both ages preferred a helper to a neutral party, and then a neutral party over one who hindered.

"The presence of social evaluation so early in infancy suggests that assessing individuals by the nature of their interactions with others is central to processing the social world, both evolutionarily and developmentally," the authors stated.

The ability to tell helpful from unhelpful people, and to favor the former, said the authors, was undoubtedly essential in activities such as group hunting, food sharing, and warfare. These abilities may also provide the starting point for moral reasoning and the development of abstract concepts of right and wrong. The infants' evaluations were based solely on what they witnessed as bystanders, and not on their own relationships or experiences with any of the figures.

The authors said the next step would be to determine the complexity of this understanding--for example, to explore whether infants prefer to interact with those who punish hinderers to those who reward them.

The animation can be viewed at http://www.yale.edu/infantlab/socialevaluation

This research was published in the journal Nature on November 22, 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Babies Prefer Good Samaritans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121144949.htm>.
Yale University. (2007, November 26). Babies Prefer Good Samaritans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121144949.htm
Yale University. "Babies Prefer Good Samaritans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121144949.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) Artist Nickolay Lamm's Kickstarter-funded Lammily doll, based on his 'What Would Barbie Look Like as a Real Woman' project, is finally available to buy. Jen Markham explains how the doll's realistic proportions are going over with a test group of second-graders who are used to the impossible measurements of Barbie dolls. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) A study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions shows a link between diets high in trans fats and decreased memory recall. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creating Lifelong Love of Science and Math

Creating Lifelong Love of Science and Math

AP (Nov. 18, 2014) Kelly Mathews is a new mom on a mission to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math, and it starts with her own daughter. The Girl Scouts are doing their part, too, by promoting S.T.E.M. through badges and activities. (Nov. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Fun Improves Child Therapy in Poland

3D Fun Improves Child Therapy in Poland

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 17, 2014) Scientists in Poland are helping children with autism and Down's Syndrome better focus on therapeutic exercises by taking them out of their real world environment and into a specially-designed 3D cave in which their imagination can flourish. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins