Infants express non-verbal sympathy for others in distress
Infants as young as ten months old express sympathy for others in distress in non-verbal ways, according to new research.
June 12, 2013 — Infants as young as ten months old express sympathy for others in distress in non-verbal ways, according to research published June 12 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Yasuhiro Kanakogi and colleagues from Kyoto University and Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan.Share This:Infants at this age are known to assign goals and intentions to geometric figures; hence the researchers used a series of animated sequences to test infants’ responses to aggression. In their experiments, researchers showed infants an aggressive ‘social interaction’ between a blue ball that attacked and violently crushed a yellow cube and found that the babies preferentially reached for the victim rather than the aggressor. Infants’ behavior remained consistent when the roles of the shapes were reversed and when a neutral, non-aggressive shape was introduced in the video, suggesting that their preference for the victim was not out of fear of the aggressive shape.Based on these observations, the authors conclude, “Ten-month olds not only evaluate the roles of victims and aggressors in interactions but also show rudimentary sympathy toward others in distress based on that evaluation. This simple preference may function as a foundation for full-fledged sympathetic behavior later on.”Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. Journal Reference:Yasuhiro Kanakogi, Yuko Okumura, Yasuyuki Inoue, Michiteru Kitazaki, Shoji Itakura. Rudimentary Sympathy in Preverbal Infants: Preference for Others in Distress. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (6): e65292 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065292 Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats: APA MLA Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
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