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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Heck......you know what they say about "from the mouths of babes"-Infants judge too!

Even during my nascent years of political awareness when I espoused progressive politics (due to a sisyphean notion of tribalism)-I was always taught to use discernment in my encounters with strangers. You can't live in a major metropolitan city and not utilize some of the precepts denoted in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink treatise. Now that I have accepted my contrarian nature and having been emboldened by conservatism, sophisticated profiling has virtually become a pastime. Whether one calls this discernment profiling or judging, the implication is always the same-you're not supposed to do it. Would you want your daughter to bring home a young man in complete gangsta garb? And would you expect him to be a doctoral candidate? I have argued with girlfriends, colleagues and friends over this belief system and now a recent study shows that even infants judge. Take a gander at this excerpt, courtesy of MSNBC.com:

Babies as young as 6 to 10 months old showed crucial social judging skills before they could talk, according to a study by researchers at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center published in Thursday’s journal Nature.

The infants watched a googly-eyed wooden toy trying to climb roller-coaster hills and then another googly-eyed toy come by and either help it over the mountain or push it backward. They then were presented with the toys to see which they would play with.

Nearly every baby picked the helpful toy over the bad one.

The babies also chose neutral toys — ones that didn’t help or hinder — over the naughty ones. And the babies chose the helping toys over the neutral ones.

“It’s incredibly impressive that babies can do this,” said study lead author Kiley Hamlin, a Yale psychology researcher. “It shows that we have these essential social skills occurring without much explicit teaching.”

There was no difference in reaction between the boys and girls, but when the researchers took away the large eyes that made the toys somewhat lifelike, the babies didn’t show the same social judging skills, Hamlin said.

The choice of nice over naughty follows a school of thought that humans have some innate social abilities, not just those learned from their parents.

Click on the link below for the article in its entirety:

Even babies judge their companions

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