Friday, January 13, 2012

When do you learn to trust?

I recently read an interesting article from Science Daily. It discussed whether infants trust and imitate everyone or whether they learn not to trust people that are "unreliable". The general basis of the experiment is that they tested children in the age group of 13-16 months. They then paired the infants up with an adult. All of the adults opened a box and acted surprised and excited with the contents. The difference is that some boxes contained toys, others contained just air. The babies then were allowed to open the boxes.

When the testers then tried to turn on light switches with their foreheads, a much smaller (about half) percentage of the "tricked" infants tried to imitate the behaviour.

This is an interesting experiment but I wish the testers had gone further. I know my son at that age would imitate us, regardless of tricking him or not. Did they test the infants with adults that they were familiar with? Will an infant that is with a warm and loving person over a standard tester still use these instincts? I think there are several factors to take into consideration. I have no doubt that infants can learn more than science realizes and that they have an instinct for trust. I just wish the reporters have given us more real clues.

Parents and teacher - what are your thoughts on infants and trust?

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