Infants can make out the Difference between Animate Beings and Inanimate Objects

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 13, 2014

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A study has shown that infants could be more intelligent than previously believed. Infants apparently hold the ability to categorise things as animate or inanimate, which is a cognitive ability that allows them to better understand the world around them.

animate and inanimate objectsIn fact the fascinating part is that infants who are as young as 10 months old can tell the essential difference between the kinds of paths that are naturally taken by an animal who is walking, as compared to a moving car or a piece of furniture. The ten month old baby also knows that the dog can jump a fence while a bus cannot, and that a cat can avoid colliding with a wall, but a table that is being pushed cannot.

The study included 350 babies who had participated at the age of, 10, 12, 16 and 20 months were looked at closely to find out at which age children could understand that animals and objects follow separate motion paths. A technique called “visual habitation paradigm” was used to measure how long one looks at a given object.

Concordia University former doctoral student Rachel Baker said in her statement, “"You can understand something about what babies know based on how long they look at something. Babies will look at something new longer than they will look at something that is already familiar to them.”

It was seen that the computer animation of a bus or a table jumping over a wall held the attention of the infants for longer than the bus or table bumping into a wall. This means that the former events were newer to the infants as compared to the latter ones.

On the other hand, the infants were attentive to see a cat jumping over a wall and also by a cat rebounding after running into a wall. This therefore says that the infants think cats can jump and as well as rebound.
Rachel Baker further stated, "Animals do bump into objects - if I'm not paying attention to where I'm going, I've been known to bump into things. The bigger picture is that the motion of objects is more predictable than the motion of animals. This research shows that even 10-month-old babies have some understanding of this.”


Article source: Business Standard

Image source: Getty

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