Babies are attracted to objects that challenge their expectations

A bracelet, mom's necklace, mobile light, toys with bright colors. These are things that draw a lot of attention to babies. In fact, anyone who has been with a child will have noticed how they are encouraged and paid attention if they are taught something unusual or surprising. The reason has just revealed a study: the babies are "programmed" to notice the unexpected, feeling attracted by objects that defy their expectations.

According to a new study published in the magazine Science and prepared by researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, United States), whats babies investigate

objects that defy its logic and, in this way, they learn the way in which their physical environment works, according to what they say in Scientific American, that they have echoed the research.


Toys and babies

The study analyzed a group of 110 babies for 11 months. The researchers presented a group of babies a puzzling toy: It crossed the wall, defied gravity or appeared in an unexpected place. Meanwhile, they put other babies in front of toys with normal functioning. After this, the authors of the study showed all the children a new object at the same time that they made the babies notice that the object they had seen before made a noise.

"Before both toys, babies who had previously observed the normal doll were equally entertained with the two, while those who saw that the first performed strange movements paid more attention to this and they despised the new", they explain in the magazine.


Study with babies and flashy objects

After this first phase, in the second part of the study the children were playing with objects that seemed to go against logic. On this occasion, the researchers were able to observe that the children who had had contact with the doll that seemed to cross the wall were banging with him on the table, while those who had seen toys defying gravity dropped it to the ground.

That is to say, the children were looking for in these new objects the properties they had been able to observe (and learn) during the first phase of the work of these North American researchers.

With these findings, researchers explain in their conclusions that babies are able to make predictions about the world and who know how to use them to guide their behavior. Also, the findings of the study show how babies learn.


Although real-world objects do not usually defy gravity, the main researcher of the work, Aimée Stahl, suspects that babies also learn of the most usual unexpected events and are able to perceive changes in the routine or to listen to new phrases. This hypothesis will be investigated in future works to verify how improbable events like these influence the learning of babies.

Angela R. Bonachera

Video: Magazine - Can Babies Tell Right From Wrong? | The New York Times


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