A new study conducted by the University of British Columbia found that babies choose their friend and enemies as early as nine months old. At this point they are said to feel pleasure when someone they do not like s harmed. They also are able to see that someone that is an enemy of their foe is a friend.
The study took a look at how infants divide friends from their enemies. In the past studies have proven that babies tend to have a preference towards kind people, but this is the first study that actually find that babies like to see antisocial behaviour towards those that they deem different.
Study leader Professor Kiley Hamlin from the Department of Psychology at the University stated that their research has proven that babies start to assess their surroundings and figure out who they like and dislike as early as nine months. Hamlin added that the way babies decide if someone is a friend or enemy is by looking at similarities and differences based on their own likes and dislikes.
As part of the study researchers made babies choose if they would whether eat green beans or crackers. Then afterwards the children were treated to a puppet show. As part of the show one of the puppets was shown as choosing the same food favourite while another puppet was shown to have a different preference.
In different shows other puppets were helped, harmed, or neutrally acted towards based on the two food preferences. When infants were allowed to choose a puppet they strongly favored the puppet that made the same choice as them and disliked the puppet that did not like what they liked. One baby even kissed the puppet that picked out the same toy.