Babies can think before they speak

Babies can think before they speak
Highlights

Babies Can Think Before They Speak. A new research has examined that babies can think before they can speak.

Washington: A new research has examined that babies can think before they can speak.

The study conducted at Northwestern University suggested that infants are capable of understanding relations like "same" and "different".

Lead author Alissa Ferry, who conducted the research at Northwestern, said that this suggested that a skill key to human intelligence was present very early in human development, and that language skills are not necessary for learning abstract relations.

To trace the origins of relational thinking in infants, the researchers tested whether 7-month-old infants could understand the simplest and most basic abstract relation that of sameness and difference between two things and infants were shown pairs of items that were either the same two Elmo dolls or different-an Elmo doll and a toy camel until their looking time declined.

Ferry, now doing post-doctoral research at the International School for Advanced Studies in Italy found that infants were capable of learning these relations, and additionally, infants exhibit the same patterns of learning as older children and adults relational learning benefits from seeing multiple examples of the relation and is impeded when attention is drawn to the individual objects composing the relation.

Dedre Gentner, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Weinberg, said, the infants in their study were able to form an abstract same or different relation after seeing only 6-9 examples and it appeared that relational learning was something that humans, even very young humans, were much better at than other primates.

The study is published online in the journal Child Development.

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