Research Papers Human Nature Good Or Evil Games

Fundamentally speaking, are humans good or bad? It's a question that has repeatedly been asked throughout humanity. For thousands of years, philosophers have debated whether we have a basically good nature that is corrupted by society, or a basically bad nature that is kept in check by society. Psychology has uncovered some evidence which might give the old debate a twist.

One way of asking about our most fundamental characteristics is to look at babies. Babies' minds are a wonderful showcase for human nature. Babies are humans with the absolute minimum of cultural influence – they don't have many friends, have never been to school and haven't read any books. They can't even control their own bowels, let alone speak the language, so their minds are as close to innocent as a human mind can get.

The only problem is that the lack of language makes it tricky to gauge their opinions. Normally we ask people to take part in experiments, giving them instructions or asking them to answer questions, both of which require language. Babies may be cuter to work with, but they are not known for their obedience. What's a curious psychologist to do?

Fortunately, you don't necessarily have to speak to reveal your opinions. Babies will reach for things they want or like, and they will tend to look longer at things that surprise them. Ingenious experiments carried out at Yale University in the US used these measures to look at babies' minds. Their results suggest that even the youngest humans have a sense of right and wrong, and, furthermore, an instinct to prefer good over evil.

How could the experiments tell this? Imagine you are a baby. Since you have a short attention span, the experiment will be shorter and loads more fun than most psychology experiments. It was basically a kind of puppet show; the stage a scene featuring a bright green hill, and the puppets were cut-out shapes with stick on wobbly eyes; a triangle, a square and a circle, each in their own bright colours. What happened next was a short play, as one of the shapes tried to climb the hill, struggling up and falling back down again. Next, the other two shapes got involved, with either one helping the climber up the hill, by pushing up from behind, or the other hindering the climber, by pushing back from above.

Already something amazing, psychologically, is going on here. All humans are able to interpret the events in the play in terms of the story I’ve described. The puppets are just shapes. They don't make human sounds or display human emotions. They just move about, and yet everyone reads these movements as purposeful, and revealing of their characters. You can argue that this “mind reading”, even in infants, shows that it is part of our human nature to believe in other minds.

Great expectations

What happened next tells us even more about human nature. After the show, infants were given the choice of reaching for either the helping or the hindering shape, and it turned out they were much more likely to reach for the helper. This can be explained if they are reading the events of the show in terms of motivations – the shapes aren't just moving at random, but they showed to the infant that the shape pushing uphill "wants" to help out (and so is nice) and the shape pushing downhill "wants" to cause problems (and so is nasty).

The researchers used an encore to confirm these results. Infants saw a second scene in which the climber shape made a choice to move towards either the helper shape or the hinderer shape. The time infants spent looking in each of the two cases revealed what they thought of the outcome. If the climber moved towards the hinderer the infants looked significantly longer than if the climber moved towards the helper. This makes sense if the infants were surprised when the climber approached the hinderer. Moving towards the helper shape would be the happy ending, and obviously it was what the infant expected. If the climber moved towards the hinderer it was a surprise, as much as you or I would be surprised if we saw someone give a hug to a man who had just knocked him over.

The way to make sense of this result is if infants, with their pre-cultural brains had expectations about how people should act. Not only do they interpret the movement of the shapes as resulting from motivations, but they prefer helping motivations over hindering ones.

This doesn't settle the debate over human nature. A cynic would say that it just shows that infants are self-interested and expect others to be the same way. At a minimum though, it shows that tightly bound into the nature of our developing minds is the ability to make sense of the world in terms of motivations, and a basic instinct to prefer friendly intentions over malicious ones. It is on this foundation that adult morality is built.

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  • Look at history

    I'll you have to do is open up a history book to see that human nature is evil. Look at all of the wars, genocide, and land grabbing. People wanting more land and wealth. Government's who had absolute control like Nazism and Communism and still want more. The atrocities that they have committed against their own people

  • Humans cause global warming

    They are having too many kids and have no sense in birth control. As a result, they are emitting excessive CO2 in the atmosphere that cause global warming. Furthermore, the more kids we have the less resources we have to use and cost of living will continue to rise and poverty will be at its worst.

  • Humans do more good than bad

    Humans always do more bad things than good. All law tells people to be good. If people were naturally good then we wouldn't need ant laws at all. Also, religion teaches people to be good not bad. In the end, humans are good not evil, so people are evil. Seriously.

  • Humans do more good than bad

    Humans always do more bad things than good. All law tells people to be good. If people were naturally good then we wouldn't need ant laws at all. Also, religion teaches people to be good not bad. In the end, humans are good not evil, so people are evil. Seriously.

  • Humans be bad

    All the people in the world have done bad things. Does that mean people are bad. Yes it does. The entire reason wars exist is because of greed, selfishness, and the other 5 sins. Look at the world. It be terrible. Nothing is worse than the world. Peace out yo.

  • Humans Are Evil

    Humans are selfish, and our selfishness causes us to hurt others and our world for our own pleasure. People care less about how their actions will impact others' or the people of the futures' lives than how they will influence their own, because they want pleasure, and pleasure is the heart of evil, despite it also being the heart of good. People can only feel themselves, so they exclude others. It shows that even from before birth, twins fight to come out first in the womb. Two-year-olds fight over who gets to play with their favorite toy. Of course, many humans have been truly good, but they are much rarer than mildly evil ones. If humans want to be good, they have to force it upon themselves. And they should.

  • Humans Are Evil

    Humans are selfish, and our selfishness causes us to hurt others and our world for our own pleasure. People care less about how their actions will impact others' or the people of the futures' lives than how they will influence their own, because they want pleasure, and pleasure is the heart of evil, despite it also being the heart of good. People can only feel themselves, so they exclude others. It shows that even from before birth, twins fight to come out first in the womb. Two-year-olds fight over who gets to play with their favorite toy. Of course, many humans have been truly good, but they are much rarer than mildly evil ones. If humans want to be good, they have to force it upon themselves. And they should.

  • The facts say otherwise.....

    Think about the things people do... Stealing, rape, molestation, murdering, killing, and so on. Would you consider that too be good nature? If human nature is good, then we wouldn't have to have police officers and laws. Would you sleep with your door unlocked? No because someone would go inside and steal or kill you. Why would they do that? Because human nature isn't good.

  • It sucks bad

    Too many buildings, people need to stop trying to release gas in to the air and to stop littering in their community, city, state, and world. Most of the people who take over land is for money, land, and mostly power. People try but they don't try enough for the world to make it a better place.

  • To be human is inevitably evil

    To be human is to eat, drink, sleep, play and live. We are able to do these things so easily because we have the human brain and body. We have feelings, emotions, purities, impurities, goods, evils, complex minds, wills, and love.

    Humans all inherit original sin. By eating meat we are consuming life. We think that's okay because we are the superior species. But to be superior is to look down on the inferior and take advantage of what we have that the inferior don't. That is evil.

    Vegetarians don't eat meat because they pity animals or to control their weight. Pitying animals means they are not accepting that humabs have the right to kill them. To

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