Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Babies Can Count!

They use simple pictures, but obviously the ability to do math is hindered by schooling.
CNN.com - Study: Babies know a little math - Feb 14, 2006: "The study of 20 infants by researchers at Duke University was similar to a previous experiment done to demonstrate that monkeys show numerical perception across senses.

In the new study, babies listened either to two women simultaneously saying the word 'look' or three women saying the same word.

At the same time, the infants could choose between video images of two or three women saying the word.

As they had found with the monkeys, the researchers said the babies spent significantly more time looking at the video image that matched the number of women talking.

'As a result of our experiments, we conclude that the babies are showing an internal representation of 'two-ness' or three-ness' that is separate from sensory modalities and thus reflects an abstract internal process,' researcher Elizabeth Brannon wrote.

'These results support the idea that there is a shared system between preverbal infants and nonverbal animals for representing numbers,' she said.

'What we do know is that somehow, very quickly, they've (the babies) acquired this ability to perceive number and divorce it from the sensory information,' Brannon said."
Shai can tell if I take out more than one treat and she looks until she finds it. It's a shame the public can't understand simple addition and subtraction.

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