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Press Release 12-182
Babies Are Born Scientists

New research methods reveal that babies and young children learn by rationally testing hypotheses, analyzing statistics and doing experiments much as scientists do

Back to article | Note about images

Photo of two babies playing with blocks.

Encouraging play, presenting anomalies and asking for explanations prompts scientific thinking more effectively than direct instruction.

Credit: Thinkstock

 

Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, spoke with NSF about her research on young children's early learning.

Credit: National Science Foundation

 

In experiments at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers studied the interactions of young children with their surroundings.

Credit: UC Berkeley

 

A young child shows potential as a future scientist. Alison Gopnik's TED Talk included video of an experiment done by Cristine LeGare at the University of Texas at Austin.

Credit: TED, available under the Creative Commons license "Attribution - NonCommercial - NonDerivative"

 

Laura Schulz's studies show that children's play involves a kind of intuitive experimentation where they examine things and events to discover cause and effect underlying them.

Credit: copyright AAAS 2012

 

Cover of the September 28, 2012 cover of the journal Science.

The researchers' work is described in the September 28, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2012


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