Toddlers Can Judge Intent

Children as young as 3 are less likely to help a person after they have seen them harm someone else. This consciousness of other’s intentions is earlier than previously believed.\r\n

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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