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Infants learn to transfer knowledge at 16 months

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - 16:25

Washington: Scientists have identified when infants first learn to transfer their acquired knowledge to new situations, which is an important milestone in their development.

In a series of studies, the researchers found that 8-month-olds had trouble using newly acquired knowledge in a different circumstance, but 16-month-olds could do so.

“Some time between 8 and 16 months, infants begin learning how to learn,” Julie Hupp, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Newark campus, said.

“They begin to transfer their new knowledge and use it in a totally different situation, which is a very important step in development,” she noted.

Hupp conducted the study with Vladimir Sloutsky, professor of psychology and human development and the director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Ohio State.

“The 16-month-olds took what they learned from the visual sequence and applied it to the auditory sequence. They transferred their knowledge. But the 8-month-olds couldn’t do that yet,” Hupp explained.

Their work appears online in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.


First Published: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - 16:25

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