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Turns Out We Have To Learn To Be Selfish!

Since the birth of Capitalism it's been assumed that our instincts are for self interest only.
Turns out that with toddlers and even with chimpanzees our default behavior is to help others.
Felix Warneken and Mike Tomasello from The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology found that children as young as 18 months would willingly help complete strangers.
  • The results were astonishing because these children are so young - they still wear diapers and are barely able to use language. But they already show helping behaviour.
    Dr. Felix Warneken
In one experiment Felix would accidentally drop a clothes peg out of his reach and the child would automatically pick it up for him.
But if it was obvious that he deliberately dropped it then the child wouldn't help.

In another experiment Dr. Warneken made a box with a flap to retrieve objects inside of it.
If Warneken accidentally dropped a spoon inside and pretended he didn’t know about the flap, the children would help him retrieve it.
But only if he was struggling to get it, as opposed to when Warneken dropped the spoon inside deliberately.
Watch Felix at the Heart-Mind 2014 event in Vancouver, the theme for the conference was The Science of Kindness.