Babymoral

Paul Bloom beskriver, i ”The Moral Life of Babies”, ett experiment:

Not long ago, a team of researchers watched a 1-year-old boy take justice into his own hands. The boy had just seen a puppet show in which one puppet played with a ball while interacting with two other puppets. The center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the right, who would pass it back. And the center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the left . . . who would run away with it. Then the two puppets on the ends were brought down from the stage and set before the toddler. Each was placed next to a pile of treats. At this point, the toddler was asked to take a treat away from one puppet. Like most children in this situation, the boy took it from the pile of the “naughty” one. But this punishment wasn’t enough — he then leaned over and smacked the puppet in the head.

Det visar sig alltså, i ny experimentell forskning, att mycket små barn har något slags instinktiv känsla för vad de anser vara rätt och fel beteende i sociala situationer. Det har dessutom en tendens att vilja straffa dem som de anser beter sig fel, inte bara i det experiment som återges i citatet ovan, utan också i andra:

Despite their overall preference for good actors over bad, then, babies are drawn to bad actors when those actors are punishing bad behavior.

Fascinerande. Om sådana här grundläggande reaktioner finns med oss redan från början är frågan hur det går med mina försök, att få människor att hålla med om, att vedergällning är ett undermåligt motiv för att straffa.