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As the old saying goes, bad and good things come in threes. Last week, three related discussions on infant morality and parental behavior were brought to my attention.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television show The Nature of Things aired a special on the moral life and development of babies. Although the video is only available in Canada, the tabs on the article give you the gist of the research that they review, in particular that of Paul Bloom (Yale) and his colleagues. Forgive the constant Canuck trivia points that are awarded to anyone in the piece who has some connection to Canada. I don;t know why we do that. Bloom’s research has demonstrated that babies as young as three months old can tell the difference between right and wrong.

The second piece was also aired on CBC, on the radio show Quirks and Quarks. This was an interview with Ivy Brooker, a PhD student at Concordia University in Montreal. Briefly, Brooker and colleagues’ research showed that babies are much more likely to mimic the behavior of adults who the infants have determined to be reliable, relative to adults who have misrepresented facts about the world to them. The interview can be heard here, and a news article on the research here. The abstract and boxplots of the results are available here.

Finally, an article titled ‘Parental lying by parents in the US and China’, published in the International Journal of Psychology, found that 84% of parents in the US and 98% of parents in China report lying to children to ‘encourage behavioral compliance.’

Hmmm…

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