babies

Babies Have an Innate Moral Sense

JustBabiesCover

In Bad Boyfriends, I discuss how babies are born with brains hardwired to sense delicate changes in the emotional states of their mothers and others by subtle cues in facial expression, voice, and interaction. Recent experiments seem to show that even one year olds have a sense of fairness and justice, and a desire to help others, before they have been exposed to any significant training. This should not be a great surprise since much of the development of the brain in humans supports social senses — facial recognition, understanding of the internal emotional states of others, and communication. Those who were better wired to do well as tribal members had more offspring, and so these traits became the norm.

Sam Harris has an interesting interview with Dr. Paul Bloom of Yale, who wrote a book discussing these experiments and the innate moral sense of babies and how it is further developed: Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.

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