Guide Bringing Up Moral Children in an Immoral World

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Key Points.

Bringing Up Moral Children in an Immoral World

The freshman congresswoman made those comments at an event celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. She said it is "wrong" that billionaires can coexist in a country alongside "parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don't have access to public health. Ocasio-Cortez made the comments as many of the world's billionaires were gathering for the start of the annual Davos economic confab in Switzerland amid concerns over economic uncertainty and rising populism.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulls back curtain on inner workings of Congress. The Bottom Line. All Languages. More filters. Sort order. Peter marked it as to-read Dec 16, Jennifer marked it as to-read Jun 08, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About A. Lynn Scoresby received his Ph. Scoresby is the Director of MyFamilyTrack. His work has been associated with improving performance both in education and in busi A.

His work has been associated with improving performance both in education and in business. He has more than 35 years experience in family counseling, education, professional speaking, training, facilitating, and organizational consulting. He has consulted and trained the executive leaders and managers for several businesses and has written books on personal leadership, team leadership, and executive leadership. Scoresby has also authored training programs for managers designed to improve creativity and problem solving, developing accountability, organizing high performance work environments, and achieving peak performance at work and in life.

The whole production had the avant-garde feel of black-box theater: intentionally primitive, yet hyperprofessional. First, two identical stuffed bunnies, one in a green shirt and the other in orange, appeared on stage with plates of graham crackers.


The curtain fell. This was the equivalent of the opening sonnet in a Shakespeare play, a sort of framing device for what followed. The curtain rose again. A lamb puppet appeared onstage, struggling to open a plastic box with a toy inside. The orange bunny flounced over and slammed the lid shut. Her brow furrowed.

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Then she got bored. A bell dinged after she looked away from the scene for two seconds, and the curtain fell. It soon rose again: Cue the green bunny. The baby stared, drummed plump fingers on the table for a moment, then looked away. This scenario was repeated six times, so the baby would grasp what she was seeing, but the green bunny was always nice and the orange bunny was always mean. At the curtain call, the lab manager emerged with the two puppets. Each offered the baby a graham cracker.

New research offers surprising answers to the age-old question of where morality comes from

I was about to tell the experimenters that my daughter had never even seen a graham cracker and was an extremely picky eater when she grabbed the treat from the nice bunny, as most of the previous babies had done. I felt an unwarranted surge of parental pride. I was not alone in my delight. Researchers tend to avoid that event horizon of toddlerhood, the terrible twos. Renowned for their tantrums, 2-year-olds are tough to test. But not all researchers shun 2-year-olds.

The next lab I visited was at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it has made this age group something of a specialty, through work on toddler altruism a phrase that, admittedly, rings rather hollow in parental ears. One advantage of testing slightly older babies and children is that they are able to perform relatively complicated tasks. The chief scientist is Felix Warneken, another young researcher, though not one whose appearance initially telegraphs baby scientist.

He stands 6-foot He usually greets children from the floor, playing with them before standing up at the last possible moment. He usually wore the same red sweater in all his experiments, because he thinks kids like it. In addition to designing groundbreaking studies, he has also dreamed up several toys to reward or distract subjects, including an ingenious device he calls a jingle box: An angled xylophone concealed in a cardboard container, it makes a thrilling sound when wooden blocks are dropped inside.

Warneken was initially interested in how little children read the intentions of others, and the question of whether toddlers would assist others in reaching their goals. Warneken put the notion on hold while he studied other aspects of toddler cooperation. One day he and a toddler were bouncing a ball together.

Bringing Up Moral Children: In An Immoral World

His first impulse was to retrieve the toy and carry on, but he stopped himself. Instead, he stayed where he was, pretending to strain for the ball, though he was barely extending his incredibly long arms. In the following months, Warneken designed experiments for month-olds, in which a hapless adult often played by him attempted to perform a variety of tasks, to no avail, as the toddlers looked on.

Warneken showed me a videotaped experiment of a toddler wallowing in a wading pool full of plastic balls. It was clear that he was having the time of his life. Then a klutzy experimenter seated at a nearby desk dropped her pen on the floor. She seemed to have great trouble recovering it and made unhappy sounds. The child shot her a woebegone look before dutifully hauling himself out of the ball pit, picking up the pen and returning it to the researcher.

At last he felt free to belly flop into the ball pit once more, unaware that, by helping another at a cost to himself, he had met the formal definition of altruism. Because they were manifested in month-olds, Warneken believed that the helping behaviors might be innate, not taught or imitated. To test his assumption, he turned to one of our two nearest primate relatives, the chimpanzee.

Intellectually, an adult chimp and a 2-year-old are evenly matched: They have roughly equivalent tool-using skills and memories and perform the same in causal learning tests. The first chimps Warneken studied, nursery-raised in a German zoo, were comfortable with select people. He replaced objects alien to chimps such as pens with familiar materials like the sponges that caretakers use to clean the facilities. Warneken waited in the hallway, watching through a camera, as the caretaker dropped the first object: As if on cue, the chimp bounded over and breezily handed it back.

I was going crazy! Once the euphoria faded, Warneken wondered if perhaps human-reared chimps had been conditioned to be helpful to their food providers. So he arranged for others to conduct a version of the test at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda, where semi-wild chimps live. The chimp has to decide whether to hand the prized possession through the bars of the cage to the vanquished party. Many did. Maybe the animals would aid people under any circumstances, assuming a reward would come their way down the line.