Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Baby it's true ... or is it?

Here's a ten-question quiz about how babies think, which I used recently on a training day. Quite a few people have asked for it - so here it is.

  1. The human brain continues to grow for a year after birth. If our bodies grew proportionately during that period, we would be 10 feet tall and weigh half a ton.
  2. 3 month-old-babies know that objects move in continuous lines – they know they cannot disappear from one place and materialize in another (like in Star Trek).
  3. 3-month-old babies know that an object cannot pass through another object like a ghost.
  4. 3-month-old babies know that objects only move each other if there is contact (like snooker/billiard balls – when one bumps into the other, the other moves.) They do not expect the second ball to move if the first does not touch it.
  5. A newborn baby knows what a tongue looks like – if you stick out your tongue, it will stick its one out in reply. It could only stick its tongue out if it knew that what it was seeing was a tongue.
  6. It is estimated that the brain has 100 billion nerve cells and more connections in it than there are stars in the universe.
  7. Babies think, observe and reason. They consider evidence, draw conclusions, do experiments, solve problems and search for the truth. Even the youngest babies know a great deal about the world and actively work to find out more.
  8. A newborn baby can distinguish between all the different sounds in every language which is spoken.
  9. A one-week old baby notices the difference when a scene changes from three objects to two, and vice versa.
  10. Five month old babies can do the simple maths sum of one and one makes two: if they see a Mickey Mouse, then he is covered by a screen, and then another Mickey Mouse is placed behind the screen – when the screen is removed, they expect to see two.
Answers (and printer-friendly version) here.

Items in this quiz include quotations and adaptations from Stephen Pinker's book How the Mind Works

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