the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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Altruism and affiliation

It's fascinating to see the strange ways in which humans' social nature is manifested.

Sixty 18-month-old infants were shown eight photos of household objects, such as teapots, books or shoes. Crucially, infants were divided into four groups, with each group shown one of four versions of these photos. One "affiliated" version featured in the background two dolls standing together side by side; another version featured a doll in the background on its own; the third version featured two dolls facing away from each other; and the final version merely had toy bricks in the background.

After they'd been shown these photos, another experimenter walked over to the infants and dropped a bunch of pens on route. Amazingly, the infants who'd seen the photos with the companionable dolls in the background were three times as likely as the other infants to help the experimenter by spontaneously picking up one or more sticks and handing it to the experimenter.

How to increase altruism in toddlers (via).

{2009.11.09 - 17:28}


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