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Johns Hopkins University

No surprise: A key to infant learning is surprise

No surprise: A key to infant learning is surprise

Baby play just got a little less random. It turns out that infants are natural scientists, spurred by surprises to test primitive hypotheses, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science. Eleven-month-old infants who observed something that defied their rudimentary expectations, such as a ball that seemed to go through a wall, readily learned something new about that object but didn’t learn it after viewing an object acting normally, according to the study. The babies also sought out the object that defied expectations and played with it in ways that seemed to test its properties. Such directed exploration has been widely chronicled in preschoolers...