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Published on Mar 25, 2011
Are we pre-wired to know right from wrong or are we blank slates who learn solely by our exposure to the environment? The question isn't new, but by studying the behavior of newborns, psychologist Karen Wynn of Yale University believes she can get us closer to the answer. With support from the National Science Foundation, she is investigating the role an infant's social preferences play in how they learn from other people. Wynn and her team put on puppet shows for infants, with characters that display both pro-social and anti-social behavior. So far, the babies almost always prefer the nicer puppets to the mean ones, indicating we may be born with an innate preference for pro-social behavior.