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January 21, 2020 Tuesday 01:00:27 PM IST

When and How to Try: Infants do it their own

Parent Interventions

Infants combine information from their own first-hand experience and the experiences of other people to decide whether to persist in trying to solve a problem. This interesting finding has been made in a study from Arizona State University, the University of Washington and University of Toronto. "Persistence is important and plays a role in learning and life outcomes like school performance and emotional well-being," said Kelsey Lucca, assistant professor of psychology at ASU and first author on the paper. "But, it's not always a good idea to persist because effort is a limited resource, and deploying effort is metabolically costly, requiring time and energy. What truly drives learning is knowing when to try and what the best way to try is."

The research team developed an experiment that provided 18-month-old infants with social information and first-hand experience when solving a problem. "Our study suggests that the toddlers engaged in a sophisticated decision-making process, similar to how adults might create a list of pros and cons and use it to influence their choice," said Jessica Sommerville, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and senior author on the paper. "The toddlers computed the utility, or usefulness, of trying to move the box by weighting the potential costs of what they had to lose - whether it was worth it keep pulling the rope - against what they had to gain in terms of the likelihood they could access the toy."

The research team examined whether the infants showed help-seeking behaviors. The infants only sought help when they actually needed it.  

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