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University conducts experiment on behavior of babies when shown an animation depicting bullying

14 Comments
By Andrew Miller

A research group from Kyoto University conducted an experiment into the behavior of babies when shown an animation depicting a scene of bullying. During the experiment, a high percentage of the babies showed a deep interest in the party being bullied. It is thought that the tendency to sympathizing with the weaker party reveals the essentially benevolent nature of humankind.

The group showed 20 babies aged just 10 months an animation of one character attacking another. After the animation had finished, the babies were then made to choose between two images extracted from the same animation. One image represented the party engaging in the bullying, the other the victim. Out of the 20 babies that were used in the experiment, a staggering 16 of them (80%) showed a strong preference for the character being bullied.

The same research group interpreted the findings as showing babies to have a strong tendency to sympathize with those enduring pain or being subject to some form of suffering. The group also conducted the same experiment on adults, however the results suggested that upon reaching maturity the same propensity to sympathize is much less.

Professor Yasuhiro Kanokogi who lead the research team commented, “These results point toward the essentially good-nature of man.”

Source: NHK News

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14 Comments
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So, 20% of the children born into society will grow up to be bullies?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Rather than revealing the benevolent nature of mankind, the babies may have been drawn towards the weaker party because it gave them a feeling of superiority. Or that they have a better chance of survival if they distance themselves from the bullies.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Or it means 80% of these babies have to "man up" before becoming Japanese salarymen. [/sarcasm]

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Or the victim had more red. Or yellow. Or a nicer hair cut. RocketNews and NHK (from which RN translated the article) seem to have failed in giving enough details.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The group also conducted the same experiment on adults, however the results suggested that upon reaching maturity the same propensity to sympathize is much less.

So does that mean that they showed the video to adults and asked them which character they like more, and more adults liked the bully than the babies did?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

can't believe that children understand the concept of bullying and exhibit empathy. these qualities are slowly acquired by a very slow but steady learning process. learnt from parents, immediate circle of relatives, friends,culture, environment and so on.if children develop or acquire these noble qualities without any external intervention the world should be free from wars,crimes,rapes, sometimes seriously wrong with this research.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually this phenomenon is well documented. It is an evolutionary response. We show an interest in those suffering to avoid the same fate. It is the same evolutionary response that makes us watch someone poisoned by berries to avoid eating the same ones, or rubbernecking at car accidents to see what happened and how to avoid the same mistake.

It shows that babies make the same mistake as most adults, blaming the victim instead of studying the bullies for signs of the genetic markers of adolescent criminality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

By "animation", do they mean "anime"?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Not too sure what to make of this report.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Previous study already done at Yale and shown on CBS program 60 Minutes. Google Yale and Infant research to read more:

YaleNews | Infants prefer individuals who punish those not like themselves,

http://news.yale.edu/2013/03/12/infants-prefer-individuals-who-punish-those-not-themselves-yale-researchers-find

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm with Elbuda on this: Purposefully exposing 10-month-old babies to scenes of violence? What the hell is wrong with these so-called researchers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a Genevan philosopher from the 18th-century, already outlined in his "Theory of Natural Human" that "uncorrupted morals" prevail in the "state of nature" and that it is the society that corrupts men. Theory which was widely criticised later on by Voltaire et Al. Kanokogi is 3 centuries back, but it is good they start to go thorungh some kind of cultural revolution...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

frungy, i would think that is a different phenomenon. i have seen stuff like what obeejuan posted a link to. (very interesting research, which showed changes in attitudes over age, among other things, and did not just come up with one conclusion about desire to form like-seeming groups) i think this is more human-relationship, and group stuff, than immediate physical danger of poison berries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

or they were just afraid of the one doing the bullying which would make more sense than sympathy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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