Friday, April 9, 2010

Unauthorized Experimentation

I accidentally conducted an experiment on altruism in my daughter's daycare class this morning. Conducted within the regulations of the University Institute on Animal Care, of course.
When snack time was over, there was not enough juice for everyone to have seconds. However, there was also some extra milk in the fridge from the day before. When everyone had finished their snack and would normally be offered the option of more, I first offered to refill their cups with milk. Only one kid raised her hand. Dismayed, I then announced that there was not enough juice for everyone to have more and some kids would have to have milk. I offered milk again. No takers. I then offered the juice, and thirteen hands shot up. Realizing these were four year olds that perhaps did not understand the situation, I explained further that either some kids could take milk and others could have juice... or no one got more juice. Now. Did anyone want milk? My daughter decided she did (she was a compromised subject that will be excluded from the data set due to her previous experience in the stop-whining-c'est-la-vie-behavioral paradigm often enforced by her mother). No one else got milk. OR juice. (They could get their water bottles, in case some of you are worried about these poor children I'm accidentally experimenting on).
Conclusion? Four year olds do not understand taking one for the team. They do not sacrifice for the greater good of the colony, or population, or species. Other animals get this. Have we already taught it out of these little humans, to look out for Number One and Follow Your Heart and Stay True To Yourself at the age of four? Is it something we must all be taught lest we become selfish buttholes that drain society and have no regard for community and our fellow man? More importantly, IS THIS NIH-FUNDABLE?


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1 comment:

  1. IRB, dude, not IACUC. I know toddlers are frustrating but they ARE people :-)