Study Shows An Evolutionary Response Towards Protecting Infants

July 13, 2009

Scotland (ChattahBox) – A new study has shown that humans have developed an evolutionary instinct towards infants that may explain how morality factors in to genetic coding.

In the study, 240 wallets were left in Edinburgh streets. All but 80 contained pictures, with 40 of each has either a picture of a baby, a puppy, a family, or an elderly couple. Of the other 80, half had no photos but contained papers confirming an act of charity (such as a paper slip showing a monetary contribution), and the other half were control wallets with nothing. All wallets had information to allow them to be returned to their owners.

Almost half of all wallets were returned intact, but of those the highest percentage came from those with baby pictures.

“The baby kicked off a caring feeling in people, which is not surprising from an evolutionary perspective,” research lead Dr. Richard Wiseman was quoted by The Times Online.

He argues that the instinct to protect children, especially infants, is one that has been strongly developed through the evolutionary process in an attempt to protect future generations of the human race.

He also pointed out that it likely triggered a response within the brain that saw the child as the person’s own, which created a greater empathetic link with the parents as well.

The next largest group, interestingly, were the puppy photos, then the elderly couple. The family photos scores slightly lower then the elderly couple, and the charity and control wallets had the least returns.


Comments

One Response to “Study Shows An Evolutionary Response Towards Protecting Infants”

  1. Bjørn Østman on July 15th, 2009 2:03 am

    This kind of uneducated reporting (and dare I say ditto on the scientist’s statements about evolution?) does not do any good for the public understanding of evolution. First off, people often equate evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology (and they aren’t the same things). The latter often isn’t rigorous enough, and that gives the former a bad name. And, of course, reporting like this leaves the reader with the impression that the scientist here knows something about our evolutionary past from experiments with human subjects. No, he has learned something about the human psyche. It’s a psychological experiment and nothing more.

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