How do babies learn to be afraid of heights?

Washington: Infants develop a fear of heights through their experiences while moving around their environments, a new research suggests.

Learning to avoid cliffs, ledges, and other precipitous hazards is essential to survival and yet human infants don`t show an early wariness of heights.

As soon as human babies begin to crawl and scoot, they enter a phase during which they`ll go over the edge of a bed, a changing table, or even the top of a staircase.

In fact, research shows that when infants are placed near a virtual drop-off - a glass-covered table that reveals the floor beneath - they seem to be enthralled by the drop-off, not fearful of it.

It`s not until later in infancy, at around 9 months, that infants show fear and avoidance of such drop-offs.

And research suggests that infants` experiences with falls don`t account for the shift, nor does the development of depth perception.

The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


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