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Researchers find out how children learn. Willie Thomas / Getty Images:
  • The way children respond to magic toys and tricks may be related to their problem-solving and learning skills later in life.
  • Researchers have found that some babies who look at “magical” objects longer than ordinary toys are relatively more curious.
  • The same babies who showed more interest in the “impossible” continued to be posted by them when they grew up.

If you show your child a ball or toy floating in the air that seems to have passed through a wall, how do you think they will react?

Would they cry, would they look away, would they quickly lose interest, would they stare at it, or would they not even blink an eyelid?

Researchers at Hopkins University have found that those who look longer at such magical illusions are more likely to try to figure them out. It also shows how curiosity can affect learning.

Moreover, these curious babies continued to be interested as they grew up, becoming curious little ones. And scientists believe that this may help predict their future cognitive abilities.

During this experiment, the researchers decided to evaluate the newborns’ reaction to something they did not expect to happen, such as magic tricks or toys that behaved in a surprising way.

The researchers tested 65 newborns at 11 months and then again at 17 months.

Some babies were shown ordinary toys, while others saw a toy that seemed to pass through a solid wall. Six months later they were shown new toys. Either a new normal toy or one that seemed to float in the air as if it were not gravity.

Some babies looked at “impossible” objects much longer than others.

Moreover, the least interested children remained so for 17 months, while those who were fascinated by magic continued to be interested in them for 6 months.

The researchers later followed the participants until they were 3 years old. Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, they had to send standardized questionnaires to parents of newborns to gauge their curiosity.

They got the same results. The children who looked longer at events that ignored their expectations at 11 և 17 months were also the parents who rated them as more curious.

The study’s lead author, Asmin Perez, a PhD student at Johns Hopkins University, says this is the most surprising intrigue in the study.

«[The fact that this is] “It is noticeable even while they are learning to walk or talk. It is quite surprising and touching,” he said.

This is the first study to address questions in the prenatal mind, or in other words, infant curiosity before they can speak. Until now, curiosity has been studied only in older children and adults.

“Researchers like us have been trying for years to understand how children think. “And to do that, we often measure how much children look at different kinds of events.”

“In general, we know that children tend to look at some things longer than others. “For example, they will look and see when an object appears out of nowhere floating in the air or magically appearing,” he said.

“But individual children are different. Some really look at these puzzling events for a long time, others take a quick look, they lose interest. “Why did we want to know if these differences in the newborns were significant or simply reflected in random mood swings in the babies?” He told Healthline.

Previous researchers believed that this was due to the fact that the children were confused, hungry or just distracted.

But Peres and Lisa Feigenson, co-authors and researchers at Hopkins University’s Child Development Laboratory, have proven that children respond differently to the world.

Previous studies have shown that the element of surprise, magic tricks or illusions, help children learn.

An article published in Science magazine in 2015, co-authored by Feigenson, showed that when children are confronted with a situation or object that behaves the way they did not expect, they are more likely to try to understand it. so this may be the best way to teach them about the world.

This new study suggests that some newborns are better at noticing these unusual or surprising events in the first place.

“What the data suggests is that 3-year-olds have legs up or seem to be in a very good position to learn a lot about the world,” Feigenson said.

When children are older և can talk, it is easier to notice the signs of a highly capable learner. Awareness, independence, a lively mind that can make connections between unusual things.

Or maybe a good listener, verbal self-confidence, strong memory, vivid imagination can be traces of curiosity.

At the same time, this study suggests that this natural curiosity in prenatal children may predict their future thinking. ,

«[The study found that] newborns who have strong reactions [to novel non-predictable situations] “At a younger age, they will likely continue to recognize these impossible situations at an older age,” he told Healthline.

However, according to Milanike, it is too early to draw conclusions without further examination.

“While this study presents new findings, the presence or absence of interest in illogical situations should not serve to exclude or exclude children from future gifted, talented programs,” he said.

Noting that intelligence is a complex trait that is influenced by a number of genetic factors, there are many types of intelligence, he said. “These results add to the natural curiosity literature, but should not affect parents’ perceptions of their children. by what means?

The next step in this curious child study will probably be to take a longitudinal step back to find out whether the same children continue to be rated as more curious throughout school or with higher test scores.

Previous studies have linked high levels of curiosity to potentially greater academic achievement.

A study of 6,200 kindergarten students և published in the journal Pediatric examinations found that children who were more successful in reading and math scored higher on curiosity, both in direct assessments and in questionnaires completed by their parents.

“Individual differences can tell us a lot about how different people think the same thing, even in childhood. “What we can try to learn from this work is how we can approach early learning in a way that benefits all types of learners, even in the early years of life,” Perez said.

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