When Babies Learn About Perspective

Alison and Andy designed an experiment to test this idea further. First they set up an imitation game: you give the toy to me and I'll give it to you; you put the sticker on my hand and I'll put it on your hand. Children are very good at this and love doing it. Then Alison and Andy put a screen on the table between the experimenter and the child. The experimenter hid a toy from the child by placing it on her side of the screen. Then she gave the toy to the child and asked him to hide it from her. To do this correctly, the child had to put the toy on his side of the screen so that he could see it and the experimenter couldn't. But the youngest children, twenty-four- and thirty-month-olds, would often put the toy on the experimenter's side of the screen so that it was hidden from their own sight but was completely visible to the other person. And the toddlers actively experimented with this problem. They would walk over to the experimenter's side of the table to see how the screen looked from that side. Or they would invent ingenious ways of avoiding the problem, like hiding the toy behind their back so that it was hidden from everyone. Just as with the picture at the end of the tube, they couldn't seem to get their minds around the idea that they could see the toy but someone else couldn't.

Before they are three, though, children do learn about the differences between what they see and what other people see. A thirty-six-month-old, barely turned three, will always hide the toy correctly on his side of the screen. He knows that the other person can't see it even though he can himself. He can predict quite explicitly when you will see the object and he won't; he'll tell you that you can't see it but he can. Three-year-olds can even tell you about what an object looks like from different perspectives. If you put a yellow toy duck behind a piece of blue plastic, it will look green. You can show this trick to three-year-olds and let them see that the duck really is yellow. Three-year-olds will say that the duck looks green to the person on one side of the plastic but looks yellow to the person on the other side. Contrary to much conventional wisdom, these very young children are already beginning to go beyond an egocentric understanding of other people.


Before the age of three, babies learn that the perspective of other people differs from their own.

Folksonomies: babies learning development

toy (0.907266 (negative:-0.036260)), experimenter (0.765117 (positive:0.400645)), yellow toy duck (0.761357 (neutral:0.000000)), screen (0.698422 (positive:0.400645)), imitation game (0.577182 (neutral:0.000000)), people differs (0.558911 (neutral:0.000000)), children (0.548755 (positive:0.517624)), ingenious ways (0.547641 (negative:-0.614010)), person (0.544546 (negative:-0.514466)), egocentric understanding (0.538407 (negative:-0.304876)), three-year-olds (0.530572 (positive:0.408364)), youngest children (0.525165 (neutral:0.000000)), different perspectives (0.522303 (positive:0.228458)), conventional wisdom (0.522005 (negative:-0.530191)), blue plastic (0.505440 (neutral:0.000000)), young children (0.501613 (negative:-0.304876)), Alison (0.434402 (positive:0.474499)), Andy (0.424364 (positive:0.474499)), idea (0.421847 (negative:-0.155847)), babies (0.418360 (neutral:0.000000)), table (0.410960 (positive:0.674686)), problem (0.409490 (negative:-0.520012)), hand (0.405337 (positive:0.554377)), object (0.393258 (negative:-0.412047)), sticker (0.364423 (positive:0.554377)), toddlers (0.358649 (negative:-0.426014)), age (0.357702 (neutral:0.000000)), experiment (0.356557 (positive:0.274313)), love (0.356090 (positive:0.822500)), sight (0.353398 (neutral:0.000000))

Andy:Person (0.906965 (positive:0.425547)), Alison:Person (0.765322 (positive:0.474499)), Three-year:Quantity (0.765322 (neutral:0.000000)), thirty-six-month:Quantity (0.765322 (neutral:0.000000)), thirty-month:Quantity (0.765322 (neutral:0.000000))

Experiment (0.924081): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Knowledge (0.858674): dbpedia | freebase
Childhood (0.776680): dbpedia | freebase
English-language films (0.770875): dbpedia
The Child (0.691229): dbpedia
A. R. Gurney (0.647265): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Green (0.629336): dbpedia | freebase
Child (0.613515): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Gopnik , Meltzoff , Kuhl (2001-01-01), The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind, Harper Paperbacks, Retrieved on 2011-07-06
Folksonomies: education parenting pregnancy babies children infancy