Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Babies are Born With Morals?

In an article for The New York Times, Paul Bloom with the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University said a growing body of evidence suggests “...that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life. With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life.” He tells of an example of one experiment among many where infants up to one-year-old were placed in front of two puppets, one displaying traditionally “moral,” helpful behavior and the other engaging in more “naughty,” hindering behavior, and the infants would overwhelmingly show a preference for the “good guy” and would even “punish” the naughty puppet in some cases. Bloom also says conventional science has said human babies take a long time to learn basic facts about the physical world and about people, much less about morality, but Bloom says modern psychology has discovered this view to be wrong—that infants react to objects as if they understand them to have certain physical properties, and they treat people differently from inanimate objects. This offers even more hope that babies develop the complex understanding of morality much sooner in their development than previously thought.
(5/3/10 NY Times)

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