Babies might be more knowledgeable than adults give them credit for. For example, a new study claims that while some babies aren't able to speak during the early years, that doesn't mean they aren't able to think — in fact, they might already have the ability to logically reason at that point.
According to renowned psychologist Jean Piaget, humans don't develop logical reasoning capabilities until the age of seven, but a team of scientists challenges that theory. They scanned the eyes of 48 babies and concluded that the little ones are capable of reasoning through the process of elimination.
Process Of Elimination
The results were just published in the Science journal. The process of elimination is a fairly easy method of logical reasoning. Say only one — A or B — can be true. Therefore, if A is proven to be false, then B must be true.
In the study, the participants looked at animations that showed them two different objects. Then these objects went behind a barrier, and one of them was taken away. Then the barrier was removed. Only one object remained. The scientists observed the babies' eye movement and found that they stared longer when one of the object was still around, implying that they were confused.
Further research in this department might help scientists and psychologist understand cognitive function in children better and ultimately help them diagnose cognitive disabilities. What's more, the research could open the doors to other studies in the future that looks into how babies process information around them and how they reason with logic at such an early age.
"The success of science rests on our human ability to reason logically. But where does this ability come from? Is it an inherent attribute of mind that even a young child might possess, or is it a hard-won accomplishment mastered later in life?" reads the study's summary.
Babies Are Smarter Than You Think
Researchers have long held the belief that babies are able to reason before they develop language and speech. In 2015, a study claimed that babies are capable of transitive inferences about a social hierarchy of dominance.
"We found that within the first year of life, children can engage in this type of logical reasoning, which was previously thought to be beyond their reach until the age of about four or five years," said the study's lead author, Stella Lourenco, a psychologist at Emory University.