Videos

Babies: Reaching For the Goal

October 2018

CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — As adults, we have the ability to predict others’ behavior. For example, if we know that our friend is thirsty and she reaches for a glass, we can predict that she’s going to pour herself a drink. Social scientists are now discovering that, with practice, even babies are able to forecast human behavior, an important part of growing up.

One-year-old Camille Walker isn’t talking yet, but her mom, Laura, can often guess what she wants.

“Sometimes she’s predictable and sometimes she’s not,” Laura told Ivanhoe.

While mom is watching baby for clues, baby is doing the same. Developmental psychologists wanted to learn when babies begin to predict the behavior of others, and how. Researchers showed infants a video of a woman reaching for toys. When the babies watched a similar video that paused, eye-tracking equipment measured exactly where the baby’s eyes focused during the pause.

“What the eye tracker is doing in this instance is telling us if the baby can predict what the woman is going to reach to before her hand gets there,” explained developmental psychologist Sheila Krogh-Jespersen, PhD.

Researchers found that if they gave the babies practice reaching for the toys ahead of time, even those as young as eight months could make predictions.

Amanda Woodward, PhD, a developmental psychologist at the University of Chicago, detailed, “Just reaching themselves gave them some insight, some ability to think about other people’s intentions.”

This ability is important, because researchers say that understanding other people’s actions helps babies learn social cues. Parents can help babies learn to predict actions by letting them safely explore. Let them hold and manipulate household objects like a spoon or a sock.

“It’s fun to see what does capture his imagination,” said parent Kristin Cross about her son, Louis.

Researchers say that, while babies are able to reach out and grasp objects by eight months, just watching the action may not be enough for them to form predictions without practice and help from their parents.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Research cited from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29499431


Spanish Translation

CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Una de las habilidades de los adultos es ser capaz de predecir el comportamiento ajeno. Por ejemplo, si sabemos que un amigo tiene sed y toma un vaso. Podemos anticipar que va a llenarlo de agua. Hoy, la ciencia está determinando que con práctica, los bebes pueden pronosticar comportamientos, algo vital en su desarrollo.

Camille tiene un año y aun no habla, pero su mama casi siempre puede anticipar lo que su hija quiere. Y mientras que Laura observa a su bebe para guiarse, la niña está haciendo lo mismo. Los psicólogos especializados en el desarrollo quisieron determinar cuándo y cómo comienzan los bebes a anticipar el comportamiento ajeno. Investigadores le mostraron a bebes un video donde una mujer trataba de alcanzar un juguete. Seguidamente les mostraron un video similar, lo detuvieron y aparatos de rastreo ocular midieron exactamente en lo que se enfocaban los ojos de los bebes en el momento de la pausa.

Los expertos determinaron que, si los bebes practicaban el tratar de alcanzar un juguete, incluso niños de 8 meses, podían predecir lo que iba a pasar. Según los investigadores, la habilidad de predecir es importante ya que, al entender las acciones ajenas, los bebes aprenden las reglas sociales. Los padres pueden ayudar a sus hijos a anticipar acciones y movimientos permitiéndoles explorar su entorno, dejándoles por ejemplo jugar con cucharas, o calcetines. Convirtiendo el aprendizaje en una aventura

Según los investigadores, aunque los bebes pueden alcanzar objetos ya a los 8 meses, simplemente observando a otras personas hacerlo no será suficiente para poder anticipar las acciones, sin practicar y recibir ayuda de los padres.

Los contribuyentes a este reportaje incluyen: Cyndy McGrath, Supervisora  Y Productora de Campo; Milvionne Chery, Productora; Roque Correa, Editor Y Camarografo.

Producido por Child Trends News Service en asocio con Ivanhoe Broadcast News y auspiciado por una beca de la National Science Foundation.