Washington: Babies as young as one year old are capable of making judgements about the probability of an event they have never seen before, a new study has claimed.
The researchers, who detailed their findings in the journal Science, showed a number of tricky videos to their one-year-old subjects and gauged how long they would look at animated scenarios that were more or less consistent with their knowledge of objects` normal behaviour.In one case, the babies were shown four objects --three blue, one red -- bouncing around a container. After some time, the scene would be covered and one of the objects would be removed from the container through an opening.Based on prior research showing that infants look longer at unexpected events, the study demonstrated they would be surprised if the object farthest from the opening disappeared when the scene was blocked very briefly, for 0.4 seconds. With a two-second interval, they showed surprise only if the red object disappeared first.The computational model correctly predicted how long babies would look at the same exit event under a dozen different scenarios and varying number of objects, positions and time delays.This suggests infants reason by mentally simulating possible scenarios and figuring out which outcome is most likely based on a few physical principles, Tenenbaum said."Even young infants` brains, before they`re able to walk and talk, they are building coherent, rational models about what is happening out there in the world," he said, adding, "We actually think that at 12 months, they know more than this model does."Tenenbaum said he hopes to do more experiments to refine the model, adding in concepts that babies might grasp such as friction and gravity. PTI
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