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Infant Logic

March 16, 2018

Infants use an early form of deductive reasoning.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Infant logic. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Adults use the process of elimination to solve problems. Now, researchers report in the journal Science that infants also begin to use this form of logical reasoning – before they’ve even mastered language. Johns Hopkins University developmental psychologist Nicoló Cesana-Arlotti and his colleagues studied how infants react when prese nted with animated video clips depicting logical inconsistencies. For example, when they expected to see a flower inside of a cup, but it turned out to be a dinosaur instead.

NICOLÓ CESANA-ARLOTTI (Johns Hopkins University; Pompeu Fabra University, Spain):

We found that infants respond with an increase of attention to events that violated the conclusion of the logical inference.

HIRSHON:

He says some researchers have assumed that logical reasoning takes many years to develop, but the study suggests that it may actually be present in an early form before we turn two years old. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard