22, Fév 2022

The notion of justice comes up a lot sooner than experts thought. I was known from previous studies, that two years children can help themselves and that six year-olds demonstrate righteous behaviour.It is now known, result of a research University of Washington led by Jessica Sommerville, that at 15 months a baby already has the sense of fairness and is able to realize if you served more or less food than the other person.During the investigation were analysed 47 babies, all with about 15 months, which watched short videos on parents labs. In one of the films was shown a person who splits a bowl of crackers equally by two people, first, and unequally, later. In the second video, the procedure was the same, but with a jug of milk. The aim was to see if the babies gave more attention to some part of the videos.The researchers concluded that babies settled more in what astounded them and “Looked more carefully when one of the containers would fill with more crackers or with more milk than other”.

Importance of education

Parents should be aware of the importance of moral education in these ages because, although sometimes it may seem that children don’t realise, they are very permeable from very early ages.In a second phase, the researchers allowed the babies to choose toys, to realize which were their favourites. Later, a stranger approached and asked the baby for one of the toys. A third of babies shared their favourite toy, another third agreed to share one of the toys that least liked and the other refused to split the toys, “mainly due to the mistrust caused by the stranger”.

Jessica Sommerville affirms that the results obtained showed that since “very early there are individual differences in moral behaviors such as altruism”.

After crossing the data of the different phases of the study, experts concluded that “92 of babies who shared the favourite toy (called participants altruistic) spent more time watching the unequal distributions of food”. On the contrary, “86 children who shared the game least liked (‘ selfish ‘ participants) concentrated more their attention at times when there was a fairer division”.

Children with a more developed sense of justice are also those who most easily share toys.

Source: Pais & Filhos Magazine

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