New research: Even eight-month-olds can recognize wrongdoers

Man has the ability to measure good and bad, crime and its consequences. The feeling of punishing wrongdoers comes early in life, but it is not yet clear at what age. A study published this month in Nature Human Behavior found the answer. According to an experiment by researchers from Osaka and Otsuma Universities in […]
 


New research: Even eight-month-olds can recognize wrongdoers

Man has the ability to measure good and bad, crime and its consequences. The feeling of punishing wrongdoers comes early in life, but it is not yet clear at what age.

A study published this month in Nature Human Behavior found the answer. According to an experiment by researchers from Osaka and Otsuma Universities in Japan, the practice of punishing wrongdoers in children begins as early as eight months of age. This morality may be evidence of being innate.

The research involved 24 eight-month-olds playing a simple video game. It featured human-like figures talking to each other on the screen. During this, the children’s eye movements were monitored with a device. If kids keep looking at the same figure for a long time, none of the attractive shapes will fall off the top of the screen and crush them. When the children learned the features of this video game, the researchers created a more complex scenario. Now the children noticed that the one-eyed figure sometimes misbehaved, bumping into each other and pushing the other into the corner of the screen. After some of these incidents, the children began to react. About 75% of them tracked down the criminals and destroyed them by dropping them from the sky. This proves that it was a punishment for misbehavior.

Study lead author Yashuhiro Kanakogi says the results are surprising. We learned that children used their eyes to punish anti-social attackers. The researchers conducted the experiment on a group of 24 children, taking into account some other results. One group showed children a game in which figures slowly fall on attackers without taking any damage.

Only 50% of the kids tracked down the wrongdoers. In the other two tests, only half of the attackers fell. In one test the eyes were removed from a human-like figure. Babies rarely saw the abuser. The fifth group retried the original experiment on infants, and each time the children looked at the human figure collapsed and disappeared.

The nature of morality is innate. Of researchers
Believed that what the children saw and did not like was good and acted as a judge to punish them. He did not learn the practice of punishment by a third party or judge for wrongdoing, but it was a natural reaction. Many psychologists believe that human beings are born with the morality of distinguishing between right and wrong. Kanakogi says that such behavior of infants indicates that humans may have acquired many such practical dispositions during the time of civilization.