A new research done at Northwestern University has examined that babies can think before they can speak. The study suggested that infants are capable of understanding relations like "same" and "different".
Lead author Alissa Ferry, who conducted the research at Northwestern, said that this suggested that a skill key to human intelligence was present very early in human development, and that language skills are not necessary for learning abstract relations.
The researchers tested whether 7-month-old infants could understand the simplest and most basic abstract relation that of sameness and difference between two things to trace the origins of relational thinking in infants.
Infants were shown pairs of items that were either the same two Elmo dolls or different-an Elmo doll and a toy camel until their looking time declined.
It was found that infants were capable of learning these relations, and additionally, infants exhibit the same patterns of learning as older children and adults.
Dedre Gentner, Co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Weinberg, said, the infants in their study were able to form an abstract same or different relation after seeing only 6-9 examples and it appeared that relational learning was something that humans, even very young humans, were much better at than other primates.