Babies Display Empathy for Victims as Early as 6 Months
Babies show empathy for a bullied victim at only six months of age, according to researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Hebrew University in Israel.
In a paper published in British Journal of Psychology, researchers through two experiments contributed to the debunking of the theory that babies only develop the ability to empathize after one year.
“The findings indicate that even during a baby’s first year, the infant is already sensitive to others’ feelings and can draw complicated conclusions about the context of a particular emotional display,” says Dr. Florina Uzefovsky, head of the BGU Bio-Empathy Lab, and senior lecturer in BGU’s department of psychology and the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience. “Even during the first year of life, babies are able to identify figures who “deserve” empathy and which ones do not, and if it appears that there is no justification for the other one’s distress, no preference is shown.”
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