Are we pre-programmed from birth to be selfish, or caring? It’s been debated a lot. And a new study just shed a little more light on it . . .
A team of researchers at the University of Washington did an experiment with 100 toddlers. All of them were about 19 months old.
A male researcher they’d never met before sat behind a table and pretended to accidentally drop a piece of fruit into a tray on the ground in front of him. So he couldn’t reach it, but each kid could.
They used things like cut-up strawberries and grapes that they knew the kids liked. Then the researcher acted like he was struggling to reach for the fruit to pick it up again.
The point was to see if the kids would help him, or take the fruit and eat it themselves. And in the end, more kids decided to HELP. (Here’s a video of a kid doing it.)
The researchers tried it again right before snack time, when they knew the kids would be hungry. And even then, almost 40% gave the fruit back instead of eating it.
This doesn’t mean altruism is totally something we’re born with. It’s also something we learn. For example, kids with siblings were even more likely to help out. Possibly because they learned to be helpful from watching their older siblings help out at home.