A vlogger who conducts social experiments tested children aged 4 to 6 and observed how each reacted when given $1 to buy ice cream at a vendor that was situated directly opposite a man disguised as a beggar. It’s interesting to watch their reactions, but the last one was a surprise!
Parenting is no walk in the park. Parents have a responsibility to instill good values in their children by teaching them virtues such as kindness and empathy—of understanding other people’s feelings.
“Empathy is probably the greatest single gift of our species,” says Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, and the co-author of Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential—and Endangered. “We wouldn’t have been able to survive without creating relationships and groups that could function together.”
Empathy is all about being understanding of others, regardless of whether they’re kith, kin, or a complete stranger. It’s about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, and knowing that he or she is also a human being with feelings.
“It’s how we develop gratitude, hope, and compassion—which is the ability to act on your empathy,” says Christine Carter, Ph.D., a sociologist and happiness expert at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
Vlogger Meir Kay, who published the social experiment to his YouTube account, decided to experiment with kids in New York City. What will they do with the dollar given to them—spend it on themselves, or give it to the man with the sign that reads, “I need money?”
An ice-cream truck was strategically positioned directly opposite a man who was disguised as a homeless person. Taking place before hidden cameras, the parents gave $1 to each child, and watched from a distance to see how their child would act. Perhaps the parents were somehow briefed on the situation beforehand, and agreed to partake—the video does not provide this detail.
In the video, we can see almost each child hesitate for a moment … me, or him? We also see how their parents react.
But there’s a slight plot twist at the end. You’ve got to watch the video to see what the girl does for yourself, just don’t judge too soon!
Watch the social experiment below:
Would you hug a homeless person?