Life History Theory Explains Childhood Moral Development.

Abstract:
Infants understand harm and fairness in third-party situations and yet children require years of development before they apply this understanding to their own interactions with others. We suggest that the delay is explained by a life-history analysis of when behaving morally becomes beneficial. The human species is characterized by an extended period of juvenile dependence during which cooperation with non-kin is mostly superfluous. Later, as children age, moral behaviors supporting cooperation become increasingly beneficial.
 

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