Do Babies Have a Moral Compass? Debate Heats Up
By Michelle Cooke | STUFF.co.nz
It turns out babies don’t have a moral compass after all, New Zealand researchers have found.
An Otago University study has quashed the findings of a landmark 2007 Yale study which found that infants could tell the good guys from the bad guys.
[Click here to see VIDEO which demonstrates the experiment]
Screengrab from Otago Experiment
The prestigious university’s study became an international sensation as it was the first to suggest that babies could assess individuals on their behaviour towards others. The findings have become widely accepted since the study was published, and more than one hundred other research papers have referred to it, which is a signal of its success, Otago University postdoctoral fellow Dr Damian Scarf said.
But Scarf and his Otago University colleagues were suspicious of the Yale findings, and since discussing their own research with international colleagues, they’ve found out they weren’t the only ones.
The team decided to conduct their own experiment to see whether babies did indeed have a moral compass, or whether they just had a preference for "attention grabbing events".
They simulated Yale’s original experiment, which used wooden figures attempting to climb a hill.
In one scenario, babies would watch as another figure - the helper - would come and push the climber up the hill, and once it reached the top it would bounce, as if it was doing a little dance. Another scenario showed the climber reaching half-way and then being pushed down the hill by another figure, the hinderer. It did not bounce after reaching the bottom of the hill.
The majority of babies preferred the scenario which included the helper, which the Yale study said indicated that babies had the innate capability of determining one’s moral character.
CHOICES: A baby selects its preferred character after watching them both attempt to climb a hill.
The Otago University experiment used identical materials to the Yale study, the only difference was that the character’s eyes moved whereas they were fixed in the American study.
When replicating the Yale study, 12 out of 16 infants chose the helper over the hinderer. But then the Otago team changed things around, and made the climber who was pushed to the bottom of the hill do a dance, while the climber who was pushed to the top remained still. In this case, 12 out of 16 infants chose the hinderer over the helper.
When both climbers - one reaching the top with assistance from the helper and one being pushed to the bottom by the hinderer - did a dance, it was an even split, with eight infants choosing the helper scenario and eight choosing the hinderer scenario.
"We thought the infants were just associating the helper with the bounce. We thought if we switched just the bounce and kept everything else the same that it would be interesting to see what happens," Scarf said.
The study showed that morality was not innate, he said.
"It is something that develops with experience."
Read the full article at: stuff.co.nz
Also tune into Red Ice Radio:
Jeanice Barcelo - Hour 1 - Conscious Conception & Possession in the Womb
Jeanice Barcelo - Hour 1 - Hospital Birth Trauma & Baby Mutilation
Bruce Lipton - The Biology of Belief
Sonia Barrett - Hacking the Mind & Breaking Reality Codes
Lynne McTaggart - The Intention Experiment
World’s first GM babies born
Babies Know What’s Boring, Study Finds
More Babies Today Have Irregular Head Shape
Babies left screaming in terror as they are swung round head of ’baby yoga’ guru
A Dept. of Family and Protective Services Licensed Daycare, Caught Doping Babies
The Truth About Genderless Babies
The brains of human and Neanderthal babies were almost identical
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |