Humans have a tendency to gravitate toward those that they share something with -- whether that's a common nationality, a shared love of a certain band or a favorite food. Yet babies don't just like individuals they have something in common with -- they also prefer people who are mean to dissimilar individuals, a new study in Psychological Science indicates.
In previous studies, infants have shown a preference for people who help others. However, that goodwill may only extend to those they identify as being like them.
To study this, (and put themselves in the running for the "most fun in research" award) a group of psychologists put on a puppet show for 9 and 14-month-old infants. The babies first had to chose which food they preferred -- either green beans or graham crackers -- and then watched the puppet show, where one of two rabbit puppets shared the same preference, and one had the opposite.
Later, the babies watched other puppet shows featuring either the similar or dissimilar puppet plus a "helper" and a "harmer" dog puppet. The helpful dog caught a ball the rabbit dropped and threw it back, whereas the other dog caught the ball and ran away with it. When the babies saw the experiment with the rabbit with similar tastes, they preferred the nice, helpful dog puppet, but they preferred the dog that stole from the dissimilar rabbit puppet.
In a subsequent experiment the older infants showed the same preference and could distinguish between helpful and harmful characters and those who were just neutral. They preferred the harmful character over the neutral one, whereas the 9-month-old infants didn't have as nuanced of an evaluation process and didn't significantly prefer harmful characters over neutral ones.
"These findings suggest that babies either feel something like schaudenfreude – pleasure when an individual they dislike or consider threatening experiences harm," according to lead author Kiley Hamlin of the University of British Columbia. "Or babies have some early understanding of social alliances, recognizing that the 'enemy of their enemy' is their friend."
While ganging up on someone who hates your favorite snack food seems irrational, the effect stretches beyond infancy:
While it may not mean all babies are doomed to be racist, it does show that the tendency to distrust or dislike people unlike ourselves develops even earlier than we thought.
It's how all successful dictators get their start-simply display this phenomenon, over and over, until they get an entire nation to intimidate anyone 'different'-whether the difference is real or illusion.
The picture of the baby in this article is a
Hold up, hold up!
What does this have to do with race?
The experiments were not based on how the babies or the toys looked. It was based on the individual's likes and dislikes, and how people form alliances with those they have things in common with.
This goes so much deeper than shallow bigotry.
The last sentence in the article is completely baseless.
I agree sir, the last sentence is baseless!
I blame video games, because we all know that humans are so F****** sweet by nature.
And, nice touch having the picture of the douchebag baby grinning like a jack ass.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Killer T and Anylcon
The 2nd definition of the 3rd usage of the word "race" on the Merriam-Webster dictionary webside.
"a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics"
The author used the correct word in this article. You guys jumped to the conclusion that the author was referring specifically to skin color.
I assume the baby feel comfortable with the average person or what it feels is average to itself and parents. If you are outside of that group, it begins to worry in terms of safety. The baby might be uncomfortable with skin color, hair color, height, look of the face or teeth, sound of voice and language, mannerisms, etc.
I have seen in life, the odd ball person walking up and taking the crying baby, calming it. So I am not sure if the article assumption is always true.
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"shared interests, habits, or characteristics"
lol That is a racist definition of the word racist.
Absolutely nobody describes people who have similar interests as "a race".
Racists on the other hand often assume that people of the same "race" have similar interests and habits to match their physical characteristics.
That baby is a racist...