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Toddlers Like Winners, But How They Win Matters

Toddlers vastly preferred the puppet that “won” because the other yielded the way and bowed down. “The toddlers liked the winner. They liked the guy who reaches his goal,” says Ashley Thomas, who did this work as part of her Ph.D. research at UCI. But they didn’t like it if the “winner” had pushed the other puppet out of the way. In that case, the toddlers switched their preference and reached for the loser, according to a report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. That’s an intriguing finding, because a recent study in one of our close primate relatives, the bonobo, showed that bonobos always prefer a winner — even when that dominance comes from beating others up.

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