Adorable Experiment Shows That Babies Learn From Surprises

April 3, 2015 6:16 PM

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Using puppets that act out good and bad behaviors, Yale's Baby Lab has been studying infant ethics for decades. In one experiment, a cat puppet was struggling to open a box when a bunny puppet in a green t-shirt came along and helped him. The puppet masters then re-did the scenario with a bunny puppet in an orange t-shirt who cruelly slammed the box shut and ran away. The lab's studies revealed that over 80 percent of babies under 24 months showed a preference for the puppet that demonstrates good behavior -- the helpful bunny in the green shirt. With 3-month-olds, the number increased to 87%.

A 2014 study published in the journal Cognitive Development looked at 150 15-month-olds. The babies watched an adult demonstrate how to use several noise-making toys. Then, a second adult entered the room and angrily scolded the first for making so much noise. After the demonstration, the babies wer...

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