Well this is interesting – interesting in that you shouldn’t give toddlers the task to answer life or death ethical dilemmas!
The trolley problem is a dilemma frequently used in ethics classrooms. It goes like this: a runaway trolley is careening down the tracks. Ahead are five people tied up and unable to move, and the trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks.
However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills all five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the most ethical choice?
Well, this toddler’s dad, who teaches a moral psychology class, wanted to see what his two-year old toddler’s reaction to the problem would be, so using a train set, he set the trolley dilemma up.
The toddler’s reaction? Well he simply took the one ‘person’ from the other track, placed them beside the five others and barrelled into them with the train.
Lesson for this dad? Toddlers aren’t in the saving people’s life game, they’re in the ‘destroy everything in their path’ game.
How do you think your toddler would handle the trolley test? Sacrifice or total carnage? In our case, we’re going to have to say total destruction.