A new study claims that babies are smarter than we think and can make sense
of complex social situations around them. Findings of the study showed
that 13-month-olds could make sense of social situations using their
understanding about others' minds and social evaluation skills.
Study authors You-jung Choi and Yuyan Luo of the University of Missouri said
that, "the research is innovative in that we show that infants are able to
construe social situations from different participants' perspectives."
The researchers brought 48 infants into the lab for their experiment. The
infant, who were around 1 year old, sat on his or her parent's lap, facing a
little stage where hand puppets would appear.
Two puppets, A and B, appeared on the stage and clapped their hands or
hopped around together, allowing the infants to familiarise themselves with the
characters and learn that A and B were friendly with each other.
Then, the infants were presented with a particular social scenario. In one,
the infants saw a third puppet, C, approach and get deliberately knocked down
by B, as A looked on from the side. In another scenario, B knocked down C, but
A wasn't present. And in a third scenario, C was accidentally knocked down as A
The researchers analysed that they found that the
infants responded to outcomes in the three scenarios differently, in accordance
with the social implications of each scenario. The research was published
in Psychological Science.