Saturday, December 01, 2007
Cool Stuff About Infant Cognition
Last week we saw my 5-month old grand-niece. She's just getting to that stage where she watches and interacts with people a lot. She loved being around 15 other people, especially the 5-year-old and the 7-year-old. She watched everything we did, gurgled at us, twisted her head and body around to see what was going on - she was just a whole lot of fun. Perhaps it was that recent exposure to a baby that made me follow this link to a cool study (from Queen's University, for all you proud Canucks) about infant cognition. Basically, by the time they are one year old, babies can "predict" the outcome of certain behaviors. For example, if a one-year-old sees her father pick up a coffee cup, her eyes will shift and focus on his mouth before the cup gets there. She knows that picking up the cup usually means drinking and predictively focuses where she thinks the next action will occur. At six months of age, the baby's eyes follow the cup to the mouth. So, this predictive ability develops somewhere between 6-12 months. It's an important step in developing social skills, since people do a lot of unconscious "predicting" about the intentions behind visual cues and take action to respond appropriately. Pretty interesting stuff.