Are we pre-wired to know right from wrong, or are we blank slates who learn solely by our exposure to the environment? The question isn't new but, by studying the behavior of newborns, psychologist Karen Wynn of Yale University believes she can get us closer to the answer. With support from NSF, Wynn is investigating the role an infant's social preferences play in how she learns from other people. Wynn and her team put on puppet shows for infants, with characters that display both pro-social and anti-social behavior. So far, the babies almost always prefer the nicer puppets to the mean ones, indicating humans may be born with an innate preference for pro-social behavior.
This is an episode from Science Nation, NSF's online magazine that's all about science for the people.
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