According to a recent study conducted by a team of researchers, babies have a moral conscious. This was deduced after a team of researchers watched a one-year old boy take justice into his own hands.
The little boy had just watched a puppet show where one of the puppets played with a ball while interacting with two other puppets. Two of the puppets played nicely, while the one ran away with the ball. The puppets were brought down from the stage and put in front of the toddler, together with a pile of treats. The toddler was asked to then take a treat away from any puppet. Like most children who had been involved in this experiment, the little boy took the treats away from the naughty puppets pile. The boy then proceeded to lean over and smack the puppet on the head.
The same results were found in several similar psychology studies.
According to these studies, babies have an actual understanding of mental life. They have an understanding of how people think, and why they act the way they do.
The studies show that, although babies expect lifeless objects to move as the result of push-pull interactions, they also expect people to move rationally in accordance with their beliefs and desires. Like adults, babies show shock when someone takes a shortcut to something they want.
Babies in many ways expect someone who reaches for an object to reach for the same object later, even if the location has changed. Before their second birthdays, babies are clever enough to know that other people can have false philosophies.
Psychologists Kristine Onishi and Renée Baillargeon have found that 15-month-olds expect that if a person sees an object in one box, and then the object is moved to another box when the person isn’t looking, it only makes sense to later reach into the box where they first saw the object. That essentially means that toddlers have a mental model of the world as understood by them, and others.