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Infants learn to transfer knowledge by 16 months, study finds
Date:7/5/2011

oked away, and if their attention returned when something new was flashed on the screen.

In the first experiment, the researchers wanted to see if infants were more likely to detect changes in the visual sequence when the changes occurred at the beginning or the end of the sequence.

The researchers flashed the same green symbols over and over again until most babies were bored and began looking away. They then added a new, orange symbol either at the beginning or the end of the sequence.

They found that infants both 8 and 16 month olds had a preference for the beginning of the sequence, meaning that they were more likely to notice and pay attention to the screen - when a symbol was added to the beginning rather than at the end.

After learning that children preferred the beginning of the sequence, the researchers tried to see if they could train them to pay attention to the end of the sequence.

So in a different experiment with new children, the researchers showed a series of symbols on the screen but the last symbol in the sequence did something exciting to arouse their interest, such as jumping on the screen or sliding back and forth.

After training the infants to notice the end of the sequence, they showed a new object sequence over and over again with no changes. Finally, they tested the infants by adding a symbol to the beginning or the end of the sequence.

"We found that both the 8 and 16 month olds shifted their attention to the end of the sequence," Hupp said.

"They paid more attention to the end and less to the beginning, suggesting that they learned when in the sequence they should be alert for changes."

But what would happen if these young infants had to transfer that knowledge to a completely different type of situation? The researchers tested that question by training infants to pay attention to the end of a visual sequence and then seeing if they could transfer that kn
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Contact: Julie Hupp
Hupp.34@osu.edu
740-366-9179
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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