How babies think

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How babies think

Postby vivian maxine on September 3rd, 2016, 10:53 am 

This relates to an earlier thread but best to separate it out with a new start, I think. Perhaps we can hear from the experts. My poor mind is filled with all sorts of scepticism. One: Isn't there a lot of difference between watching a moving video and watching real people? Two: What a baby "thinks"? I have watched babies closely observing others at the table but there is a lot of difference between watching outer actions and perhaps mimicking or watching outer actions and making decisions about them.

I know. Scientists have ways of "seeing" into one's brain nowadays. For now, I'll keep quiet and await a good explanation but allow me my doubts, please.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 125300.htm
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Re: How babies think

Postby BadgerJelly on September 3rd, 2016, 11:05 am 

They know these kinds of things by tracking eye movements.
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Re: How babies think

Postby Serpent on September 3rd, 2016, 11:58 am 

Tracking eye-movement tells you what they're looking at, not what they make of the information.
To figure that out, you have to note what they do next.
One thing babies do is try to feed their care-giver, their siblings, pets and occasionally, their toys. Having been fed by another person, it's natural enough to mimic the action and reciprocate. But what food they choose to offer to whom and which foods they reject after watching other people eat, would be informative.
I'm drawing no conclusions, you understand; merely suggesting avenues to explore.

PS Is it cast-in-concrete mandatory for all headline-writers to use a pun?
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Re: How babies think

Postby vivian maxine on September 3rd, 2016, 12:16 pm 

Serpent » September 3rd, 2016, 10:58 am wrote:Tracking eye-movement tells you what they're looking at, not what they make of the information.
To figure that out, you have to note what they do next.
One thing babies do is try to feed their care-giver, their siblings, pets and occasionally, their toys. Having been fed by another person, it's natural enough to mimic the action and reciprocate. But what food they choose to offer to whom and which foods they reject after watching other people eat, would be informative.
I'm drawing no conclusions, you understand; merely suggesting avenues to explore.

PS Is it cast-in-concrete mandatory for all headline-writers to use a pun?


Mimicking, yes. Babies and some other primates are very good at that. As for the puns, these do add to the enjoyment of it - provided they keep the topic in the pun. Some do not.
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Re: How babies think

Postby Serpent on September 3rd, 2016, 2:00 pm 

Monkey see, monkey do? Yes, only mimicking behaviour doesn't stop at replaying exactly what the monkey saw. He then elaborates on the action, devises variations, brings individual style to it, and sometimes goes on to combine it with some other habitual or observed action. For example, a baby picking up Cheerios from its feeding tray might eat three, then offer one to its companion, then throw one on the ground and squeal. The baby hasn't seen anyone else do that; the baby has improvised. Why?
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Re: How babies think

Postby vivian maxine on September 3rd, 2016, 2:13 pm 

All true but throwing things to the floor isn't new. Once the bottle fell off the tray or out of his hands and someone ran to pick it up for him, he had learned how to get attention by throwing things to the floor. Also, he could have seen mother or someone drop something and bend to pick it up. That was entertaining, too. Does all that make sense and explain his delight in tossing the cheerio to the floor?
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Re: How babies think

Postby Serpent on September 3rd, 2016, 3:02 pm 

Of course it does. But it's still not strictly mimicry, if he's combining two observed events from memory, and applying similar action to a different object each time. Now we're into experimentation and adaptation.
You might call that "thinking"... I could not possibly comment.
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Re: How babies think

Postby vivian maxine on September 3rd, 2016, 4:09 pm 

Whatever is at hand can be tossed. :-) But, yes. They've gone a tad beyond simple mimicry.
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Re: How babies think

Postby BadgerJelly on September 5th, 2016, 5:04 am 

Serpent -

That has been explored. At a certain age, cannot remember when exactly, babies will offer the food that people like to them not food they don't like. Babies know this by signs of disgust or pleasure on the faces of the people eating.

By observing eye movement we can see how babies look from the food to who is eating it. A large amount of information is processed through facial expressions.

We assume that when babies smile and laugh they are happy. On this assumption we can also assume that babies can understand emotional expressions of disgust and pleasure, and we know that they can at a certain age understand that different people have different likes and that these like may contradict their own likes (this is probably the first major hurdle in emotional development or maybe it is something that is not such a big deal except from our biased perspective?).

I would view this I being equivalent to seeing someone get punch in the face and laughing. Such an event would confuse me. I think when babies see people enjoying food they find disgusting a similar kind of confusion would happen.
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Re: How babies think

Postby Serpent on September 5th, 2016, 10:29 am 

Slapstick humour doesn't register as humour until about age 3, even 4. Before that, falling down or being hit may be funny or troubling, depending on circumstances and the person's reaction - but not both funny and troubling. The concepts of relief at somebody else being hurt instead of self, or somebody else being hurt by self as pure entertainment are too complex for an inexperienced social creature.

Food likes and dislikes are established and observed as soon as the baby is able to sit up and eat solids. (Necessarily: cave-babies had to learn early on which berries were poisonous.) By 8 months, certainly. When they crawl, they pick things up and taste things and are constantly told "Yuck! Not food!" or "Yum. Good for you." At first, they will usually offer whatever they themselves like - or find interesting: I've been urged to eat a red crayon - later they discern that the other person has different preferences.

But, of course, I would not designate any of this behaviour as a proof of consciousness or independent thought.
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