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Toddlers Can Judge Intent

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. 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.
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