Babies cleverer than we thought

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  • Babies understand adults' thoughts from the age of one

    Scientists have shown that by the tender age of one, babies are already quite adept not only at understanding adults’ thoughts, but also at helping them out of trouble, reports the Daily Mail.

    In a study by Germany’s Max Planck Institute, researchers have shown that the infants were able to work out if the scientists needed help to find objects that had fallen on the floor. Then, if necessary, the babies made sure the adults got the help they needed.

    The results of the study show that well before babies are able to talk, they can work out what other people know and whether they need any additional information. This contradicts earlier studies which said that the ability to understand what others do and do not know develops along with speech, during the second year of life.

    In the experiment, one-year-olds sat on a parent’s lap across a table from a researcher who showed the child an object, such as a pair of scissors, and then placed it so it would slide on to the floor. In some cases, the scientist watched it fall, in other cases they turned the other way.

    They then looked puzzled and asked the baby where the object had gone. When the researcher had seen the object fall, the baby did not tend to help them find it, but when the adult had pretended not to have seen the object fall, the baby usually tried to point it out. Something to remember the next time you can’t find your car keys perhaps.

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