You are here

Big Freakin' Surprise: Babies Are Nice

Michael Scott of The Office said it best: If a baby were President, there would be no taxes, there would be no war." But you already knew that. And you also probably wouldn't be surprised to find that biologists have discovered that babies are innately sociable and helpful to others. This, they tell us, after studying human children and chimpanzees and noting the differences, all to find what makes us distinctively human.

From the article:

"Infants will help with information, as well as in practical ways. From the age of 12 months they will point at objects that an adult pretends to have lost. Chimpanzees, by contrast, never point at things for each other, and when they point for people, it seems to be as a command to go fetch something rather than to share information.

"If children are naturally helpful and sociable, what system of child-rearing best takes advantage of this surprising propensity? Dr. Tomasello says that the approach known as inductive parenting works best because it reinforces the child’s natural propensity to cooperate with others. Inductive parenting is simply communicating with children about the effect of their actions on others and emphasizing the logic of social cooperation.

"'Children are altruistic by nature,' he writes, and though they are also naturally selfish, all parents need do is try to tip the balance toward social behavior."

Me? I'm just happy that I can add this to my ongoing list of "Why I Am Better than Chimpanzees."