Babies Display Sense Of Good and Evil

Eyebrow_babyEver gaze into a baby’s eyes and think, “You are a little sociopath”? Thankfully, you’re wrong — a new study shows that babies as young as six months demonstrate a sense of morality, suggesting that we are born with the ability to know good from evil, and making it harder to train an army of evil babies. From PhysOrg:

The research was carried out by a team led by Paul Bloom, professor of psychology at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University in Connecticut in the US, and used the ability to differentiate between unhelpful and helpful behavior as their indicator of moral judgement. The results contradict the theories of Sigmund Freud and others, who thought human beings start out as “amoral animals”, or a moral blank state. Bloom said there is mounting scientific evidence that this may not be true and that “some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone.”

8 Comments on "Babies Display Sense Of Good and Evil"

  1. Hadrian999 | May 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

    the methods are flawed
    they would have to alternate the good guy/bad guy models to make sure it really is a moral judgment not an aesthetic one

  2. Repeated studies of human and animal models have demonstrated that there's an innate sense of “fairness”.

    When we become convinced that normal people don't have a reliable sense of fairness and that even our own sense of justice can't be trusted we're being set up to be taken advantage of by people who really don't have any morals, aka sociopaths.

    They're making off with the plunder while everyone is standing around wondering if they have the “right” to intervene or even speak up about what's going on.

  3. E.B. Wolf | May 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm |

    We've been beyond Good and Evil for more than a century.
    Don't even tell me that these guys from Yale of all places haven't read their Nietzsche.They've been producing many of the best practitioners of absolute amorality for quite some time now.

  4. tonyviner | May 20, 2010 at 12:31 am |

    I often wonder what Mussolini was like as a child. He looks like he would have been the pudgy little sidekick. Funny how things work out.

  5. Tchoutoye | May 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm |

    Lazy science journalism as usual. The experiments related to characters which were either helpful or antagonizing in a given situation. That doesn't say anything at all about “good” or “evil”, subjective concepts which are context related.

  6. And the babies that overcome that morality–or have it overcome–and learn to lie convincingly will be more successful in later life.

    http://disinfo.com/2010/05/lying-children-w

  7. Men and women are in a constant struggle to better understand the complex inner workings of one another’s minds. Science has done its part to help us separate the fact from fiction, and some of the results may surprise you.

  8. oh ,this kind of display is so cute

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