Experimental research suggests that babies have expectations of fairness. Babies watched videos in which food was divided between people fairly in one instance, unfairly in another. Babies stared longer (usually interpreted by researchers as a sign of surprise) at the unfair distribution. Subsequent studies have replicated the findings. Additionally, it was discovered that babies who expected fairness in others were more likely to share their toys. Babies develop notions of fairness from interactions with — and observations of — other people.
- Wanting fairness and equality is a human trait that goes all the way back to the hunter-gatherer days.
- Studies have shown that even babies want fairness and will react badly to unfair situations.
- For example, babies are surprised by adults who divide food in unfair ways.
“Scientists have long established that babies tend to look longer at events that surprise them. Thus, if you measure looking times, and compare them, you can get a feeling for what babies expect.”