Psychologist Rodolfo Cortes Barragan of the University of Washington, explains, 'We adults help each other when we see another in need and we do this even if there is a cost to the self. So we tested the roots of this in infants.'
The researchers conducted a test to see if children would help unknown adults by handing over a tasty-looking piece of fruit, even if they were hungry.
Even hungry babies will share food with strangers in need, it seems, as psychologists discover that the 'spirit of giving' starts in infants as young as around 19 months old. They found that more than half the children would ordinarily give up the food, with that number only falling to 37 per cent when the kids were hungry themselves.
'We think altruism is important to study because it is one of the most distinctive aspects of being human. It is an important part of the moral fabric of society,' Barragan pointed out.