I love babies. They’re cute, cuddly, have adorable rolls of chub, teeny toes, edible elbow dimples and of course that baby smell. But there have been times when it seems like my kids enjoy watching us suffer. My kids are constantly laughing when mommy drops something, mimicking daddy when he stubs his toe and reenacting the time they knocked Grandma on her kiester at the airport.
Well now there is a study that suggests what parents suspected all along; babies can be mean!
A UBC study published in Psychology Science observed 112 babies between 9 and 14 months old. The babies were given a choice between foods and then shown a puppet show which displayed one puppet enjoying the preferred food and another puppet eating something else. During the show, the puppet with similar preferences ‘harmed’ the puppet that liked the other food. The babies then showed a preference for the ‘mean’ puppet!
This really made me realize why cartoons such as the Looney Toons have been so popular. Kids watch Bugs torment the hapless Tasmanian Devil or outwit Elmer Fudd. They cheer for Road Runner as he drops anvils on the Coyote’s head, and Tweety Bird so smugly revels in Sylvester’s failures that I don’t even like watching him. Seems like Mel Blanc knew all along what this study is suggesting…
Do you think this study is accurate? Have you ever noticed this tendency in your children?