Babies understand social hierarchies and expect leaders to fix everything when someone breaks the rules, according to researchers who observed children watching puppet shows.
Scientists looked at how 120 17-month-old children reacted to puppet shows showing where bears behave unfairly, while they sat on a parents’ lap. Would infants expect the leader of a group to step in to fix an issue, compared with those who weren’t leaders?
The babies watched three bear puppets, who represented a wrongdoer, protagonist and a victim, respectively, in different scenarios. The protagonist bear presented the other bears with two toys to share. But the mean bear took both.