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New Studies Say Babies Can Understand Right and Wrong

Babies aren't born knowing how to do a whole lot; it takes years before they can feed themselves, use a toilet, speak in complete sentences, learn right from wrong – or does it (to that last part, at least)?

Child development psychologists (i.e. Freud and Jean Piaget) have long believed that babies are born without a sense of morality; parents must teach their children what's right and what's wrong, and how to feel empathy and show compassion. But new experiments, detailed in "The Moral Life of Babies" by Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom in this weekend's edition of The New York Times magazine, indicate otherwise.

"You can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life," writes Bloom. "Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone."

The article continues to build supporting arguments, but here's one interesting observation:

"Human babies, notably, cry more to the cries of other babies than to tape recordings of their own crying, suggesting that they are responding to their awareness of someone else's pain, not merely to a certain pitch of sound."

Babies: they never cease to amaze.

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