Babies Like Goodness

A new Yale University study shows that babies know the difference between good and evil.

When babies were shown different puppets in a recent study, they liked the “good” ones and disliked the “bad” ones.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life,” wrote Paul Bloom, a Yale University psychologist, in The New York Times Magazine last month. “With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life.”

The Yale researchers showed babies a puppet show in which characters were either helpful or mean. After watching the show several times, the babies preferred the “good” toys.

“In the end, we found that 6- and 10-month-old infants overwhelmingly preferred the helpful individual to the hindering individual,” Bloom noted. “This wasn’t a subtle statistical trend; just about all the babies reached for the good guy.”

As Catechism No. 33 states, “The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness … in all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul.”