Fairness and caring start very young, study reveals

BABIES as young as 15 months can recognise fairness and show signs of altruism, research has found.

A test using the ‘violation of expectancy’ phenomenon, where infants pay more attention when surprised by an outcome, found babies stared longer at a video that showed an unequal distribution of food.

“The infants expected an equal and fair distribution… and were surprised to see one person given more crackers or milk than the other,” the authors, psychologists from Germany and the US, concluded.

Another test saw babies given two toys – a Lego block and a Lego doll. Their preferred toy was noted before a tester asked for one to be given back.

In 92% of cases, babies who volunteered their preferred toy also fell into a group that watched the unequal food distribution for the longest.

In all, 47 babies were individually tested while sitting on a parent’s lap.

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