Saturday, August 18, 2012

Now THAT's how you write a science headline

"Babies Shun Altruism, Prefer Bouncing"

Speaking of replication of results, this study failed to substantiate the idea that 10 month old babies had a moral code.  Turns out that the their preference for "helpful" robots was based less on the fact that the robots were helpful, and more on the fact that they bounced.

I'm sort of curious how many of the original study authors were parents.  I've only been a mom for 19 days and even I could tell you that babies like bouncy things more than discussions about man's existential angst.  The 2 AM feeding helps you figure these things out pretty quickly.

For fun, I decided to conduct my own n=1 experiment and to present my son with a survey regarding his preference for robots in general and their morals in particular.  I thought it was a fairly well crafted survey.

I think my findings are best summarized with this picture:
I think that should be good enough for any number of social psychology journals.