Study Suggests Altruism Begins in Infancy

Infants Willing to Give Up Food to Others in Need, Researchers Find

Many people are ready to share or give whatever they have to help people in need. Researchers have found that this altruistic behavior probably started when such individuals were still babies.Kids Altruism

The giving of a helping hand, even at a possible cost to oneself, is what altruism is about.

A major need that altruistic persons often help others to fill is that for food. Apart from making donations, some people might assist hungry persons by giving up their own food.

Researchers at the University of Washington found in experiments they carried out that babies – at just 19 months of age – were willing to give up food to others who appeared to need it. The infants displayed their readiness to help even when they were hungry themselves.

“We adults help each other when we see another in need and we do this even if there is a cost to the self,” said Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington. “So we tested the roots of this in infants.”

The research also hints that the early social experiences of a person also exert an effect on the formation of altruism.

Findings from the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.



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