Humans appear to be sympathetic by nature. Concern for a scared person and joy for a happy person are normal human feelings. But is this always the case? Or does it come with age? It is commonly said that by preschool children will develop empathy, but arguably babies already have empathy. They react to hearing another baby upset. In one study of one to two year olds, attempts to offer comfort to a perceived distressed peer were noted.
- Even after just a few days of experiencing life out of the womb, babies have been shown to feel empathy towards other babies in distress.
- After they reach a year old, infants show concern for other individuals who are under distress.
- Infants that are as young as just six months can feel cognitive empathy by recognizing when someone is a victim.
“Scientists recognize two kinds of empathy — affective empathy and cognitive empathy — and studies strongly suggest that babies experience both”