The Philosophical Baby | Quote 00648

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Can babies do experiments? Even very young babies pay special attention to the consequences of their actions. For example, we can attach a mobile to a three-month-old baby’s leg with a ribbon, so that the baby’s kicking makes the mobile move, and the baby will kick like mad. Is this a kind of experiment or is it just that the baby likes to see things move? To test this, you can show the same baby a mobile that does exactly the same things but isn’t connected to the baby’s own body. Babies prefer to look at the mobile that they can influence themselves, and they smile and coo at it more too. This suggests that it isn’t just that they like the effect—they really are trying to make the effect happen and to see the consequences. They are happy because the experiment succeeds.

Quote ID: 00648


Alison Gopnik


The Philosophical Baby

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

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