Babies learn to recognise pictures before first birthday!
If a mother shows her nine month-old baby a picture of her husband fighting a war in a distant land, she may find to her surprise that if he comes back soon after, the baby may well recognise the person in the picture.
Even before turning one, babies can connect pictures with real life objects, researchers have now learned.
"The study should interest any parent or caregiver who has ever read a picture book with an infant," said Jeanne Shinskey from Royal Holloway, University of London.
"For parents and educators, these findings suggest that, well before their first birthdays and their first words, babies are capable of learning about the real world indirectly from picture books, at least those that have very realistic images like photographs," Shinskey added.
For the study, researchers familiarsed 30 eight and nine-month-olds with a life-sized photo of a toy for about a minute.
The babies were then placed before the toy in the picture and a different toy and researchers watched to see which one the babies reached for first.
When the toys were visible in clear containers, babies reached for the one that had not been in the picture, suggesting that they recognized the pictured toy and found it less interesting than the new toy because its novelty had worn off.
But when the toys were hidden in opaque containers, babies showed the opposite preference - they reached more often for the one that had been in the photo, suggesting that they had formed a continued mental idea of it.
The study appeared in the journal Child Development.
(Posted on 01-05-2014)