Babies can tell the difference from right and wrong at just 15 months, a new study has revealed.

The findings, published in the journal PLoS ONE, also found that the toddlers could also tell the difference between what was fair and what wasn't.

The study involved showing two short videos to the babies - one showing the unequal distribution of milk to two people, the other crackers. The scientists then monitored the babies' response to the distribution. They found the babies spent longer looking at the allocation of food if one person got more than the other.

In a second task, which looked at whether children would share a toy, they found that the babies who had been surprised by the unequal food distribution were more likely to share their favourite toy than those who weren't.

Dr Jessica Sommerville, associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington, USA, said: "Our findings show that these norms of fairness and altruism are more rapidly acquired than we thought.

"These results also show a connection between fairness and altruism in infants, such that babies who were more sensitive to the fair distribution of food were also more likely to share their preferred toy."

Posted by Robert Mair