In the 2020 Nature Research Scientific Report: Altruistic food-sharing behavior by human infants after a hunger manipulation, the authors show: “Our investigation experimentally tested whether human infants, at 19 months of age, in the absence of any verbal request, spontaneously, repeatedly, and swiftly give away desirable food to a begging stranger” (Rodolfo Cortes Barragan1,2*, Rechele Brooks 1 & Andrew N. Meltzoff 1,2*, Altruistic food-sharing behavior by human infants after a hunger manipulation 2020). The experiments show children willingly giving desirable food to strangers even when it was detrimental to themselves.

The video clips showed in the module also verify such findings when the experimenter drops the pen and reaches for the pen with a noise to associate the force behind the reach, the toddler approaches to hand the researcher the pen. In the first clip, the researcher bangs on the door as though unable to open it and the child approaches and opens the door showing the altruistic inclination to help the researcher. The question remains of how the child has learned this altruistic behavior or at least the actual manipulation to give, to open and to help? Based on Wittmer and Peterson, “…young children can be prosocial. Prosocial behavior includes giving, defending, offering, helping, and showing empathy through facial expressions, words, or gestures” (p.158). All children are born with an altruistic inclination to help, give and be kind.


Barragan, R. C., Meltzoff, A. N., & Brooks, R. (n.d.). Altruistic food sharing behavior by human infants after a hunger manipulation. Retrieved from

Wittmer, D. S., & Petersen, S. H. (2018). Infant and toddler development and responsive  program planning: A relationship-based approach. NY, NY: Pearson.