Navigation Links
Babies Can Tell Friend From Foe
Date:11/21/2007

Researchers say infants make distinctions based on behaviors

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- New research reveals that infants who have not yet learned language can still judge who is friend and who is foe.

Babies as young as 6 months old prefer people who cooperate versus people who hurt, and this ability could be the foundation for moral thought and action later in life, say the Yale researchers. Their study is published in the Nov. 22 issue of Nature.

"I think it is the first study that demonstrated that very young infants show some understanding of social cooperation," said Tracy Dennis, an expert on child development and assistant professor of psychology at Hunter College in New York City. "This is an important study."

Previous studies had showed that babies prefer physically attractive people, but there has been no data on whether babies judge people based on how they behave.

"We know babies evaluate others based on outside stuff, not necessarily inside stuff," said study author Kiley Hamlin, a doctoral candidate in development psychology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. "We wanted to see whether or not babies, like adults, have evaluative mechanisms for other people based on behavior."

Kiley and her co-authors (also her advisers) conducted a series of simple experiments to gauge whether 6- and 10-month-old infants preferred social individuals ("helpers") or anti-social individuals ("hinderers").

In one experiment, the infant watched a "climber" (basically a wood puppet with large eyes glued on to it) repeatedly try to climb a hill. On the third try, the climber was either given help or was pushed back down by a puppet.

The babies were then given the chance to choose (reach out and grasp) either the helper or hinderer puppet.

"Basically, we found very high rates of choosing of the helping character," Hamlin said.

One question is whether the babies are learning the behavior, or if it's something innate. The authors argue for the latter.

"Our results suggest that infants have a pretty advanced evaluating system that doesn't need much outside input to develop. It develops at a very early age, by 6 months," Hamlin said. "They are learning lots of stuff by 6 months, however, we know that it's incredibly unlikely that parents are explicitly teaching them anything about this. The fact that they can pick up on it by 6 months suggests that it's an important skill."

In fact, being able to distinguish between friend or foe could be an important survival skill. "It's important to tell who is going to be helpful, who is going to be threatening," Hamlin noted.

But that's the evolutionary argument, and not one everyone would agree with it, Dennis pointed out.

"Even though these authors make a good argument that very young infants don't have a lot of time to learn, even some basic observation of people cooperating might be enough to make some learning take place," Dennis said. "It's important, but it's a study that people are going to debate about."

More information

Read up on child development at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Kiley Hamlin, doctoral student, development psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Tracy Dennis, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, Hunter College, New York City; Nov. 22, 2007, Nature


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Stressed-Out Moms Carry Babies on the Right
2. March of Dimes, Experts for Moms and Babies, Launches Podcast
3. Steroids Seem Safe for Babies at Risk of Early Birth
4. Babies raised in bilingual homes learn new words differently than infants learning one language
5. Motherhood(R) Maternity Joins March of Dimes to Give Babies a Healthy Start in Life
6. Photo: Introducing a New Line of Baby and Toddler Shirts that Can Help Protect Innocent Babies During Flu Season
7. YouTube Video to Benefit AIDS Babies
8. Treadmill training helps Down syndrome babies walk months earlier
9. March of Dimes Honors Babies on El Dia de Todos los Santos
10. Common drug for stopping preterm labor may be harmful for babies
11. Babies Driving Robots at University
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Babies Can Tell Friend From Foe
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... ... Rejuvenation" at the 2016 Anti-Aging & Beauty Awards at The Aesthetic & ... & Anti-aging Medicine European Congress (AMEC) brings together the industry’s leading scientific ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Metabolic Code (MC) ... nutraceuticals and help doctors more efficiently manage their practice. Power2Practice is adding ... platform for Integrative and Functional Medicine. , The Metabolic Code platform provides ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... 2016 , ... While James Earl Jones is known for myriad roles on ... called "Front Page". One of the forthcoming episodes examines mammogram techniques; a very important ... large part due to early detection. Like any other disease, treatments have a much ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... December 04, 2016 ... ... lower third presets that have new attractive animation styles with unique displacement design ... Displace features 30 pre-animated lower third designs. Choose from a variety of design ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 04, 2016 , ... Responsible dental ... One must brush properly to achieve optimal results. This important necessity inspired an inventor ... need for a way to ensure that people break or avoid bad techniques of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)...  Wellbridge Health and Gateway Health proudly announce a dynamic ... and Medicaid plan members with specific high risk needs. ... of this group of consumers, Wellbridge combines technology and population ... insight into members, daily behaviors and lifestyle. ... , , ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016  New research ... ) Research Institute and the U.S. Department of ... Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), published online ... that automated pharmacy notifications encourage patients with chronic ... natural disaster. The study also affirms that public-private ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... VEGAS , Dec. 5, 2016  BD (Becton, ... leading global medical technology company, will demonstrate an enhanced ... medication management technologies, including the company,s leading Pyxis™ and ... Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2016 Midyear Meeting being held ... 4-8. While national data show that approximately ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: