Infants ask for help when they know they don’t know

Although many animals have been shown to monitor their own uncertainty, only humans seem to have the ability to explicitly communicate their uncertainty to others. It remains unknown whether this ability is present early in development, or whether it only emerges later alongside language development. Here, using a nonverbal memory-monitoring paradigm, we show that infants are able to strategically ask for help to avoid making mistakes. These findings reveal that infants are capable of monitoring and communicating their own uncertainty. We propose that explicit metacognition develops earlier than previously thought, enabling infants to communicate their own uncertainty nonverbally to gain knowledge from others.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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