Researchers at Johns Hopkins University revealed that babies have inborn knowledge about the world and when their expectations are defied, they learn best.
Surprising situations or objects makes the baby not only to focus on the object but also ultimately help the baby learn.
Lisa Feigenson, Professor of psychological and Brain Sciences, University's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, said, "For young learners, the world is an incredibly complex place filled with dynamic stimuli. How do learners know what to focus on and learn more about, and what to ignore? Our research suggests that infants use what they already know about the world to form predictions. When these predictions are shown to be wrong, infants use this as a special opportunity for learning."
The study involved four experiments with pre-verbal 11-month-old- babies. When the babies were surprised by something such as an object not behaving in an expected way, the babies focused on the object and learned more from it than from a similar but predictable object.
The study found that when babies are surprised, they learn best, as though they take surprises as a chance to figure out something about their world.
Study co-author, Aimee Stahl, said, "The babies behaviors are not merely reflexive responses to the novelty of surprising outcomes, but instead reflect deeper attempts to learn about aspects of the world that failed to accord with expectations."
When baby's expectations are shown to be wrong, they use surprises as a special opportunity to learn.