The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

The next time the boy launches himself off the bed and flies several feet into my arms, I had better be very, very sure to catch him. If I don't, I might lose his trust forever.

He began these leaps of faith when he was about eight months old. I would pluck him out of mid-air each time he jumped, much to his delight. I was, unconsciously of course, building his feeling of security and showing him that I was a dependable sort of chap. This possibly explains why, nowadays, sometimes he likes to leap even when I am not looking: he is convinced that I will somehow save him from gravity. (Or - more likely - his aim and his grip are much better than ever, and he can latch himself around my neck quite comfortably. As I choke and stagger, he yells - Elephant!)

It appears that babies as young as 6 months old are excellent judges of character. A recent paper in Nature by J. Kiley Hamlin and others, shows that infants almost always reach for a toy shape that appeared to have behaved as a good guy rather than one that behaved as a bad guy.

A researcher, hidden from view of the infants, would move a Circle up a slope, whereupon either a Square would shove it down the slope, or a Triangle would help it up. After repeated demonstrations, the babies were offered Triangle and Square, and in almost every case, they would reach for Triangle. The researchers proved there was no favouritism shown to the particular shape, by swapping the roles of Triangle and Square. Also, the colour of the shape did not matter, nor was there any predisposition towards pushing up or down motions.

They conclude that this is an untaught behaviour improving the infant's survivability to separate friends from foes. It might possibly be hardwired in their brains, but that hypothesis requires more testing.

In the first few months of her life, a baby shows preferences for others based on the attractiveness of their faces. (No wonder, then, that the tiny fellow yelled for his mum when I picked him up. My baleful countenance would stop a hippo in its tracks, particularly if I hadn't shaved. Or it might have been halitosis.) Now it appears that, as she grows older, an infant is able to make choices to discern character, develop moral thought, and indeed act upon these choices with appropriate amity or animosity.

J.K.Hamlin et al: Social Evaluation by Preverbial Infants, Nature 450, 557-559 (22 November 2007)


newAgeIndian said...

In ur case, angad choose nina, because,she seems to have more capability of entertaining him and angad has more fun with her. BTW, I can vouch that your characters is not bad at all -:).
In the hierarchy of preferencne I stand last with my son (mother,grandmom/dad and than me) -:(

Post a Comment