Babies understand bigger is better before 1st birthday

From just 10 months of age babies expect the bigger of two contestants in a conflict to win.


Babies aged 10 months to 13 months can recognise the advantages of being bigger, a study published in the journal Science, has revealed.


Professionals studied the reactions of babies as they watched videos of various-sized cartoon characters interact with each other. The films showed two squares with faces bounce across the screen from opposite directions and meet in the middle. When in the middle, one square would give way to the other with a polite bow. The videos showed the smaller squares giving way to the bigger ones and on occasions, the other way round.

As previous studies have shown, when babies see something surprising they spend more time focusing on it, and this is exactly what happened when the big squares gave way to the smaller ones. Psychologists believe this indicates humans are programmed to respect size at an early age, just like animals do, reported the Times of Malta.

“Many animals, like birds and cats, will puff themselves up to look physically larger to an adversary, and prostrate themselves to demonstrate submission, like dogs do. Our work suggests that even with limited socialisation, pre-verbal human infants may understand such displays,” said lead researcher Lotte Thomsen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Harvard University in the USA.


When conducting the experiment with 8-month-old babies, they failed to notice when big gives way to small, so it seems this awareness develops between 8 and 10 months of age.

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