Turns out babies are geniuses after all! Okay maybe not geniuses, but they do have much higher cognitive skills than we initially thought. A new study reveals that children as young as nine months are capable of selecting toys correctly after identifying them in pictures. Scientists are thinking this new information will revolutionize, or at least slightly the way parents interact with their babies in the future.
So how are parents to react to this newfound information? Is it possible that your child's life is already ruined because of the things you’ve exposed them to?! Probably not. The real takeaway this study has is that babies are a lot smarter than the needy puff balls of cuteness that we mistook them for. Dr. Jeanne Shinskey from the Royal Holloway Department of Psychology says it shows just how much information children take in before their first words…
”For parents and educators, these findings suggest that, well before their first birthdays and their first words, babies are capable of learning about the real world indirectly from picture books, at least those that have very realistic images like photographs."
In the first test, children were presented a photo of a toy for a minute and then presented two toys. Out of 30 babies a majority tended to gravitate towards the toy they were just shown in the picture before. A second test had the same target photo of the toy and then presented two toys in a container. In this test, the babies went for the toy not pictured, but acknowledged the target toy. Curiously enough when the toy pictured was placed in an opaque box the babies almost always went for the box that contained the toy pictured. Dr. Shinskey says this shows another level of depth in the cognitive minds of babies...
"These findings show that one brief exposure to a picture of a toy affects infants' actions with the real toy by the time they reach nine-months-old. It also demonstrates that experience with a picture of something can strengthen babies' ideas of an object so they can maintain it after the object disappears - so out of sight is not out of mind.
The study confirmed that children can at the very least view a photorealistic picture, and identify it in the real world. Pairing this study with another out of Chicago where babies were revealed to sense the relationships between other adults, makes the notion that kids are human sponges no exaggeration. Studies at Helenski are even showing that babies can even identify lullabies they heard while in the womb! No pressure next time you see a baby, you might just alter its life forever by something you’re wearing or saying.