Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Babies' Justice

Maybe it's the effects of living with Judah that I'm all the more fascinated and amused by this article in the NY Times. Perhaps we're born with a universal desire to see "bad guys" get punished?

Not long ago, a team of researchers watched a 1-year-old boy take justice into his own hands. The boy had just seen a puppet show in which one puppet played with a ball while interacting with two other puppets. The center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the right, who would pass it back. And the center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the left . . . who would run away with it. Then the two puppets on the ends were brought down from the stage and set before the toddler. Each was placed next to a pile of treats. At this point, the toddler was asked to take a treat away from one puppet. Like most children in this situation, the boy took it from the pile of the “naughty” one. But this punishment wasn’t enough — he then leaned over and smacked the puppet in the head.

You can read the rest of the article here

The article actually sparks some more provoking questions, like: Is the core of "justice" and morality universally impartiality as the article suggests? Could it be some other trait that enables the most harmonious functioning of any given society? Or is the replacement of impartiality for harmony a sign that societies have lost sight of the truth we were born with?

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