Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Infants absorb more than we might think, noting mobility differences as early as ten months

Date:
August 12, 2014
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Does a baby know that a dog can jump a fence while a school bus can't? Can a toddler grasp that a cat can avoid colliding with a wall, while a table being pushed into a wall can't? Infants as young as 10-months old can tell the difference between the kinds of paths naturally taken by a walking animal, compared to a moving car or piece of furniture.

Does a baby know that a dog can jump a fence while a school bus can't? Can a toddler grasp that a cat can avoid colliding with a wall, while a table being pushed into a wall can't?

Related Articles


A new study from Concordia shows that infants as young as 10-months old can tell the difference between the kinds of paths naturally taken by a walking animal, compared to a moving car or piece of furniture.

That's important information because the ability to categorize things as animate beings or inanimate objects is a fundamental cognitive ability that allows toddlers to better understand the world around them.

The study, published in Infant Behavior & Development, looked at about 350 babies -- who participated at 10, 12, 16 and 20 months -- to find out when children clue in to the fact that animals and objects follow different motion paths.

Since the study subjects could not express much in words, the researchers used a technique called the "visual habituation paradigm," which measures how long one looks at a given object.

"You can understand something about what babies know based on how long they look at something," explains former doctoral student Rachel Baker, who collaborated on the study with fellow researcher Tamara Pettigrew and Diane Poulin-Dubois, a professor in Concordia's Department of Psychology and member of the Centre for Research in Human Development. "Babies will look at something new longer than they will look at something that is already familiar to them."

Since computer animations of a bus or a table jumping over a wall held the attention of infants for longer than a bus or table bumping into a wall, it indicated the former was newer to them than the latter. In contrast, infants' attention was held just as well by a cat jumping over a wall as by a cat rebounding after running into a wall, indicating that infants think that cats can both jump and rebound.

This matches real life, says Baker, who obtained her PhD from Concordia and is now a research and statistical officer at the Cape Breton District Health Authority. "Animals do bump into objects -- if I'm not paying attention to where I'm going, I've been known to bump into things. The bigger picture is that the motion of objects is more predictable than the motion of animals. This research shows that even 10-month-old babies have some understanding of this."

For the researchers, the study reveals that even the youngest among us absorb more details than some might think, through eyes that are usually open wider than adult ones.

"Babies are really quite smart," says Baker. "The secret to finding out what they know is to be creative and tap into behaviours they do naturally. By doing so, we've shown that babies understand something about animals and objects even though they can't yet put that knowledge into words."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. The original article was written by Marc Weisblott. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rachel K. Baker, Tamara L. Pettigrew, Diane Poulin-Dubois. Infants’ ability to associate motion paths with object kinds. Infant Behavior and Development, 2014; 37 (1): 119 DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.12.005

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Infants absorb more than we might think, noting mobility differences as early as ten months." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812235753.htm>.
Concordia University. (2014, August 12). Infants absorb more than we might think, noting mobility differences as early as ten months. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812235753.htm
Concordia University. "Infants absorb more than we might think, noting mobility differences as early as ten months." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812235753.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins