Infants prefer an nasty moose if it punishes an unhelpful elephant | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
Kiley Hamlin from the University of British Columbia has shown that this capacity for finer social appraisals dates back to infancy – we develop it somewhere between our fifth and eighth months of life.
Hamlin, formerly at Yale University, has a long pedigree in this line of research. Together with Karen Wynn and Paul Bloom, she showed that infants prefer a person who helps others over someone who hinders, even from the tender age of three months. These experiments also showed that infants expect others to behave in the same way – approaching those who help them and avoiding those who harm them. Now, Hamlin has shown that our infant brains can cope with much more nuance than that.