Was Kinder nicht erst lernen müssen…
By SINDYA N. BHANOO
Understanding another’s intent is an important skill for lawyers, and perhaps politicians and businessmen as well, but according to a new study, it is an ability that even toddlers have.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany report that children as young as 3 are less likely to help a person after they have seen them harm someone else — in this case adult actors tearing up or breaking another adult’s drawing or clay bird.
More intriguing is that the toddlers judged a person’s intention. When one person tried to harm someone else but did not succeed, the youngsters were less likely to help that person at a later time.
But when they observed a person accidentally cause harm to another, they were more willing to help that person.
“It had been thought for a long time that it was at a later age, only around age 5 or 6, that children become conscious of other people’s intentions,” said Amrisha Vaish, one of the study’s authors and a developmental psychologist at the Max Planck Institute. “To help those who help others is actually a very sophisticated ability.”
It is a form of cooperation that is thought to have enabled the emergence and sustenance of human society as it is today, she said.
The research appears in the journal Child Development.