7-month-old babies can understand what’s boring


    Washington: Pushy parents often think giving new gadgets will help improve their baby’s intelligence. But a new study has found that infants as young as seven months are able to parse out what is too complex or boring, and focus on only what they can handle.

    The study, published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, provides evidence for an idea about baby cognition that makes intuitive sense, said lead study author Celeste Kidd from the University of Rochester. The thinking goes that babies organize their search for information in a way that makes the most sense for efficient learning.

    If a baby looks at something and it seems too simple, suggesting there’s not much learning value, he or she won’t pay attention to that situation or object, Kidd said.

    In their study, Kidd and her team tracked the attention patterns of 72 babies, aged seven to eight months, using an eye-tracking device just below a computer screen. As long as the babies stared at the screen, the events being played out continued; but as soon as they looked away, suggesting no more interest, the trial ended.

    In one experiment, the infants watched video animations of items appearing from behind colorful boxes.

    They lost interest when the video became too predictable, which meant the probability of a subsequent event happening was very high.