The human brain may be wired to sympathize with the underdog. Even if the underdog is a yellow square being chased by a blue circle, and the brain has been checking out the outside world for only 10 months.

A Japanese research team found that 16 of 20 infants reached for the pursued yellow square rather than the aggressive blue ball as the ball bumped the square seven times, then smashed it.

Twenty other infants observed the objects moving independently without touching, with nine of them reaching for the persecuted square, according to the study, published in the online journal PLOS ONE.

The experiments hint at a very early cognitive ability to sense and respond to aggression with preference for the “victim,” a building block for sympathetic behavior that is a core element of social, cooperative animals.

Read more in Friday’s Arizona Daily Star or StarNet.