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September 13, 2019 Friday 12:54:48 PM IST

Babies display empathy for victims

Teacher Insights

Babies show empathy for a bullied victim at only six months of age, according to researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Hebrew University in Israel.

The findings indicate that six-month old babies are able to identify figures who ‘deserve’ empathy and which ones do not.

In the first experiment, researchers found that five-to-nine-month-old infants demonstrate a clear pro-victim preference. They showed 27 infants two video clips depicting a square figure with eyes climb a hill, meet a circular friendly figure, then happily go down the hill together, all the while displaying clear positive or neutral feelings. In the second video, however, the same round figure hits and bullies the square figure until it goes back down the hill, showing distress by crying and doubling over.
More than 80% of the participants chose the figure that had shown distress, thus showing empathic preference towards the bullied figure. 


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