Magazine article Psychology Today

Little Kids Are Already Judging You

Magazine article Psychology Today

Little Kids Are Already Judging You

Article excerpt

RIGHT AND WRONG BEHAVIOR Children as young as 3 can watch adults perform an arbitrary manual task and infer that it is being done the correct way, even without being told, according to a report in Psychological Science. A degree of moral judgment seems to appear early as well. "While it's debatable whether children understand what is right and wrong, they know that there is a right and wrong, and they're looking out for social cues," says coauthor Lucas Butler, a psychologist at the University of Maryland. Another paper, in Cognition, showed that, when given a choice, infants and children were more likelytotakeasingle gift from a friendly character than two from an unfriendly character. "A 3-year-old who watches someone transgress against someone else isactually quite likely to intervene or protest," says University of Virginia psychologist Amrisha Vaish.

AUTHENTICITY

In addition to precociously absorbing rules, very young children also quickly become able to recognize disingenuousness. …

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