A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Winning the Right Way

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — You’ve probably heard it from your parents at one time, maybe your grandparents, and certainly a coach or two. It is not always about winning, but how you play the game. Now, science is backing that up.

Researchers at the University of California–Irvine studied two groups of toddlers between the ages of 21 months and 31 months as they watched a puppet show where two puppets bumped into each other. The toddlers saw one of two scenarios. In the first, one of the puppets bowed down and let the other pass. In the second scenario, one of the puppets pushed the other puppet out of the way to pass him. After the show, researchers asked the toddlers which of the puppets they preferred.

Researchers found a majority of the toddlers liked the puppet who got his way when the other puppet bowed down to him. However, in the second scenario, the toddlers didn’t prefer the aggressive puppet, and instead reached for the puppet that was pushed down. This suggests that toddlers like winners, but it does matter to them how they won.

On the other hand. . . . Recently, a similar study with our close relative the pygmy chimpanzee found that the chimps always prefer a winner, even when the winner gets their way by beating others up.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Original research: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-018-0415-3  

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