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The first longitudinal study of its kind of infant curiosity found that one-month-olds who were more fascinated by magic tricks became the most attractive children, suggesting that the prenatal infant’s interest in the wonders of the world remained over time and could predict their future cognition.

“Something about a child’s curiosity about magic tricks predicts how much preschoolers are becoming,” said Lisa Feigenson, co-chair of the Hopkins University Child Development Laboratory. “What the data suggests is that three-year-olds have their feet up or seem to be in a particularly good position to learn a lot about the world.”

The results appear today Scientific Bulletin of the National Academy of Sciences,

Prior to this study, little was known about interest in the initial speech, as interest was mainly studied in much older children and adults.

The main question of this work arose from Feigenson’s own curiosity, և lead author s Hopkins’s postgraduate student Asm Պn Perez about the constant disappointment with the classical experimental method of studying infant cognition. During these experiments, infants are shown regular objects, objects that are handled with amazing, unexpected eggs. Many, but not all, children tend to look at unexpected events longer. Some will look and look at a car that seems to be floating in the air or a ball that seems to pass through a solid wall. The other babies will stare, yawn, և they are done.

An inquisitive child considers an object

Image: creditWill Kirk / s ons Hopkins University

Researchers have suggested that variability is due to the number of newborns. Maybe they are confused or hungry or scattered. But Feigenson և Perez suspected that something might be wrong.

“We began to think that maybe all that individual variability really makes sense. It tells us that children react to the world in different ways, from the youngest to the youngest,” Perez said.

To find out, they started an experiment in which they studied 65 babies over time. At 11 months, some babies were shown a toy that behaved normally, while others saw the toy pass directly through a wall. Six months later, the babies, who were now one and a half years old, now saw either a new toy that was behaving normally or seemed to be swimming in the air.

“We found that the kids who really looked at magic for 11 months were the same kids who really looked at magic for 17 months,” Perez said. “Newborns react to these magical events in different ways. These eggs seem to be stable during childhood for six months.”

There was also little change in the least interested children during the six-month period.

But was this difference in infants predictable for future thinking? To determine this, the team initially wanted to return participants to the lab when they were three years old, but due to the epidemic, they instead sent their parents standardized interest questionnaires.

They found that the children who watched the events that did not live up to their expectations for the longest time were the children whose parents rated them as the most curious to find information, to solve the problem. The kind of curiosity that is likely to help children get to know the world.

Feigenson’s lab has previously found that these magical, anticipatory events are baby-learning opportunities. New discoveries that show that some children are better aware of these amazing events in the first place increase the likelihood that some children will be in a better position to learn, at least with this egg, which uses expectations as a lever to learn more about the world. for deep thinking. ,

The team plans to follow up with the group to find out how long the individual differences between the children last.

“One of the exciting things about these results is that they open the door to so many other important issues,” Feigenson said. “What does this mean for children in the future?” Are these kids also rated as the most curious in high school? Are these kids going to score the highest in school achievement tests or IQ tests? «

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