Babies can make sense of space and time

Babies are found to recognise and use ideas of numbers, space and time to understand their world, say researchers

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Babies as young as 9 months have been found to recognise and relate size, numbers and length of time. Research has concluded that babies use the ideas of “more than and “less than” to understand the world around them.

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The study worked by showing images on a computer screen to 9-month-old babies and analysing their reactions. “Babies like to stare when they see something new and we can measure the length of time that they look at these things to understand how they process information,” explained Stella Lourenco, the psychologist who led the research.

“Our findings indicate that humans use information about quantity to organise their experience of the world from the first few months of life,” said Dr Stella.

The study may put pay to the idea that the world is a confusing place to babies, as they appear to be analysing and linking things around them from very early on.

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“It’s amazing how we use quantity information to make sense of the world,” Dr Stella concluded, suggesting the ideas of magnitude, space and time could be innate.

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