Nav: Home

Infants can't talk, but they know how to reason

March 15, 2018

A new study reveals that preverbal infants are able to make rational deductions, showing surprise when an outcome does not occur as expected. The results suggest that such reasoning is not necessarily linguistically-based, as some had thought. Disjunctive syllogism is a logical form of thinking where, if only A or B can be true, and A is false, then B must be true. In essence, it's the ability to conduct the process of elimination. Such ability has been confirmed in toddlers, but not preverbal infants. Here, Nicoló Cesana-Arlotti and colleagues studied 12- and 19-month-old infants while they watched animations. In the animations, two objects that vary in shape, texture, color, and category (for example a flower and a dinosaur) are shown, but are then hidden behind a barrier. An animated cup scoops up one of the objects, say the dinosaur. The barrier is then removed and either the expected leftover object (flower) is present, or, surprisingly, the removed object (dinosaur) remains behind. The researchers used eye-tracking data to find that infants stared longer at scenes where the unexpected object remained behind the barrier, indicating that they are confused by the outcome and hope to attain more information. Cesana-Arlotti et al. conducted variations of this experiment to confirm that it was indeed the unexpected object that enamored the infants. As well, the researchers found that the infants' pupils dilated more when watching movies that required rational deductions, a phenomenon that occurs in adults during deductive reasoning as well. Justin Halberda discusses these findings in a related Perspective.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Dinosaur Articles:

How to weigh a dinosaur
A new study looks at dinosaur body mass estimation techniques revealing different approaches still yield strikingly similar results.
How dinosaur research can help medicine
The intervertebral discs connect the vertebrae and give the spine its mobility.
New species of dinosaur discovered on Isle of Wight
A new study by Palaeontologists at the University of Southampton suggests four bones recently found on the Isle of Wight belong to new species of theropod dinosaur, the group that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and modern-day birds.
First dinosaur eggs were soft like a turtle's
New research suggests that the first dinosaurs laid soft-shelled eggs -- a finding that contradicts established thought.
To think like a dinosaur
Palaeontologists from St Petersburg University have been the first to study in detail the structure of the brain and blood vessels in the skull of the ankylosaur Bissektipelta archibaldi.
New feathered dinosaur was one of the last surviving raptors
Dineobellator notohesperus lived 67 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, who recently earned his doctorate from the School of Arts and Sciences working with Peter Dodson, also of the School of Veterinary Medicine, described the find.
The dinosaur in the cupboard under the stairs
The mystery surrounding dinosaur footprints on a cave ceiling in Central Queensland has been solved after more than a half a century.
How did dinosaur parents know when their kids had a fever?
How Did Dinosaur Parents Know When Their Kids Had a Fever?
Dinosaur brains from baby to adult
New research by a University of Bristol palaeontology post-graduate student has revealed fresh insights into how the braincase of the dinosaur Psittacosaurus developed and how this tells us about its posture.
Dinosaur bones are home to microscopic life
Scientists went looking for preserved collagen, the protein in bone and skin, in dinosaur fossils.
More Dinosaur News and Dinosaur Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.