The Boston Globe:
People often yearn for the innocence of youth, that time of unbiased childlike wonder that came before experience intruded, transforming us into cynical and self-interested adults. But we may be nostalgic for a time that never quite existed, according to a new study that found babies prefer individuals who harm, rather than help, characters who are different from them.
But would babies always, universally, prefer heroes to villains? Or would their preference depend on who was being helped or hindered? The researchers wondered: would they see the enemy of their enemy as a friend?
“I was surprised, and my liberal bleeding heart sunk like a stone, when we found them actually choosing, really robustly, the puppet who punishes” the rabbit puppet that did not share the baby’s preference, said Karen Wynn, a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale and senior author of the work, published in the journal Psychological Science.
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