Preschoolers beat college kids at figuring out gadgets - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Preschoolers beat college kids at figuring out gadgets

Updated: March 11, 2014 02:13 PM
© iStockphoto / Thinkstock © iStockphoto / Thinkstock
  • HealthMore>>

  • Most adults are members of 'clean plate club'

    Most adults are members of 'clean plate club'

    Unlike children, the vast majority of adults finish all of the food they put on their plate at mealtime, according to a new study.
    Unlike children, the vast majority of adults finish all of the food they put on their plate at mealtime, according to a new study.
  • The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
  • Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- When faced with a strange, new gizmo, preschoolers figured out how it worked more quickly than college students did, a new study shows.

The likely reason, according to the researchers, is that very young children may be less fixed than adults in their ideas about cause and effect.

The study included 106 young children, aged 4 and 5, and 170 college students who were asked to figure out a gadget that worked in an unusual way. They did this by placing different clay shapes on a special box to find out which shapes -- single or together -- could light up the box and play music.

The children were quicker than the college students to understand that unusual combinations of shapes could make the box perform, according to the study, which will be published in the May issue of the journal Cognition.

"The kids got it. They figured out that the machine might work in this unusual way and so that you should put both blocks on together," senior study author Alison Gopnik, a developmental psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in a column last week for The Wall Street Journal.

"But the best and brightest [college] students acted as if the machine would always follow the common and obvious rule, even when we showed them that it might work differently," Gopnik said.

"As far as we know, this is the first study examining whether children can learn abstract cause- and-effect relationships, abstract principles about the logical form of causal relationships, and comparing them to adults," Gopnik said in a university news release.

"One big question, looking forward, is what makes children more flexible learners -- are they just free from the preconceptions that adults have, or are they fundamentally more flexible or exploratory in how they see the world?" study author Christopher Lucas, a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said in the news release.

"Regardless, children have a lot to teach us about learning," he added.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about preschoolers.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.