ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2011) — A new study presents the first evidence that a basic sense of fairness and altruism appears in infancy. Babies as young as 15 months perceived the difference between equal and unequal distribution of food, and their awareness of equal rations was linked to their willingness to share a toy.
“Our findings show that these norms of fairness and altruism are more rapidly acquired than we thought,” said Jessica Sommerville, a University of Washington associate professor of psychology who led the study.
“These results also show a connection between fairness and altruism in infants, such that babies who were more sensitive to the fair distribution of food were also more likely to share their preferred toy,” she said.
The study has implications for nurturing human egalitarianism and cooperation. The journal PLoS ONE published the findings online Oct. 7, 2011. Co-author is Marco Schmidt, a doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Previous studies reveal that 2-year-old children can help others — considered a measure of altruism — and that around age 6 or 7 they display a sense of fairness. Sommerville, an expert in early childhood development, suspected that these qualities could be apparent at even younger ages.
Editor’s note: Apparently the children are not showing any signs of ‘Original Sin.’
The recent research is indeed confirming the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, ‘Every child is born a Muslim.’ This nicely dove tails into another Hadith that a Muslim is one from whom the life, property and honor of another person is safe!