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Infant Persistence

September 25, 2017

Babies persist when they see adults persist.



Kids learn persistence from grown-ups. (Pixabay)


Persistent babies. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When adults persevere at a difficult task, infants who observe them are also less likely to give up when they try something hard. This according to MIT developmental psychologists Julia Leonard and Laura Schulz, writing in the journal Science. Their team had babies watch an adult struggle to remove an object from a container for 30 seconds, while other infants watched an adult do the same thing effortlessly in just 10 seconds. Later, they gave the babies a musical toy. Leonard says those infants who had earlier observed tenacious adults were more persistent in trying to get the toy to make music.


What we showed is that kids are sensitive to information about when hard work is worth it.


The researchers say if parents want to encourage a resilient mindset, it’s okay for babies to see that some things in life are difficult. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard

Baby and mother. (Pixabay)

Baby and mother. (Pixabay)