Friday, August 04, 2017

Babies study grownups for clues

Ever catch a baby as young as 8 months studying you intently?

Some researchers at Washington University says that even before they can talk, babies are keeping close track of what's happening and look for patterns that will help them guess what will happen next.

For instance, they can judge a grownup's preference for a certain toy or food. (This may explain why kids want a toy another kid is playing with.)

The tykes base their predictions on consistency. In the tests, a grownup would choose the same item over and over while the baby watched--and then when the grownup picked a different one, the baby would exhibit a longer "looking time," presumably while the baby figured out what happened.

In another test, a baby would offer an actor the same toy the actor had seemed to prefer as the baby observed.

There may be a lot going on in those fuzzy little heads. Who knows what a very small infant is picking up--a word to the wise.

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