When a baby sees an object it doesn't understand, its curiosity is piqued, thus inspiring it to unravel its mysteries. And a new study is suggesting that a baby's interest in such objects leads the infant to conduct experiments on them to better understand what's going on. So don't be surprised that your kid is really just a little scientific genius at work when it throws mashed peas across the table to see how they fly through the air. It's science!
"We wanted to know why babies have this interest in surprising events," lead author and Johns Hopkins doctoral candidate Aimee E. Stahl told The Post. "Why does this surprise reaction occur? That's remained very mysterious, even though the reaction itself is so established."
In one experiment to prove babies' curiosity during surprising events, the infants saw blocks behave in both normal and unexpected ways. In the end, the babies were more interested in the blocks that had behaved abnormally than a brand new object that was introduced to hold their attention.
In other experiments, when babies saw a ball seemingly pass through a solid wall, they tested the ball by banging on it. And when they spotted an object that was floating, they would drop the ball to test its gravity. But babies who hadn't witnessed these actions seldom conducted these simple tests when playing with the objects.
"When they witness an object defy expectations, they tailor their exploratory actions around that," Stahl said. "It was really specific and very selective."