I thought this CT article might be interesting to some people in light of some of the recent discussions on the development of human morality. It is a brief summary of some psychology studies that may shed light on the question of “the age of accountability” and whether some sense of morality is innate in humans or if it is all a result of enculturation.
@Jay313 It cites the study I mentioned but couldn’t find the other day about the one year olds preferring the nice toys over the mean ones.
[quote] First, in contradiction with early philosophers, psychologists are finding that humans aren’t a blank slate at birth. As Paul Bloom, the author of Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil concludes, “With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life. Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone.”
This aspect Christians already acknowledge, though in some ways, it may seem contrary to tabula rasa theory and those who prefer a nurture perspective when it comes to personality and character formation. However, a balanced reading of the evidence shows the early glimmer of a moral foundation in babies, not a complex understanding of morality.
In one of Bloom’s first studies, researchers acted out a scene for babies using manipulated physical shapes like puppets: A yellow square helped a circle up a hill; a red triangle pushed it down. After the show, the experimenter placed both the helper square and the hinderer triangle on a tray and brought it to the babies, ages 6 and 10 months, and found that infants overwhelmingly preferred the helper. Karen Wynn and Kiley Hamlin also found that infants prefer individuals who are nice to individuals who are mean.[/quote]
The article doesn’t get into the idea of the evolution of human moral accountability, but the researcher highlighted in the article observes: