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Babies & Morality

This post is based on a submission by reader Professor Daniel Bitran via Professor Martin Patt.

Summary #

Researchers at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale are conducting studies to try and assess the capabilities of infants to understand the world around them.

(Video: YouTube)

Commentary #

While I'm hesitant to label this as "bunk", there appear to be at least two deficiencies in the research methods used (based on five minutes of film and not much else).

The first, pointed out to me by Professor Bitran, is that the caregivers always hold the children and may unconsciously influence the result (as in facilitated communication).

Second, the videos seem to show that the researchers who present the option know which one is the "good" one. The babies may be responding to the researcher rather than the choice (similar to Clever Hans). Nonetheless, the results of better controlled studies might show that a basic understanding of cooperation.

See Also #