Even Toddlers Notice Good Intentions

KINGSTON, Ontario, April 2 (UPI) — Canadian researchers found even toddlers notice and could reward good intentions.

Kristen Dunfield and Valerie Kuhlmeier of Queen’s University in Kingston found children as young as 21 months old selectively helped the person who had shown good intent.


“Some of the characteristics of the rich reciprocal relationships observed in adults are in place in infancy,” Dunfield and Kuhlmeier said in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, reported a toddler was more likely to help someone showing good intentions — even if the person did not accomplish a desired outcome.

In one experiment, Dunfield and Kuhlmeier introduced toddlers to two actresses — one who offered a toy, put it on a slanted surface and showed surprise when the toy rolled away. The other actress showed the child the toy, but then took it away.

When the toddler was put in the position of being able to “return” a toy, it was most likely given to the actress showing good intentions, the researchers said.

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