In this article from Nature magazine, psychologist Paul Bloom discusses research suggesting that infants are born with the ability to distinguish phonology and certain aspects of meaning.  He specifically discusses a study that suggested babies are born with the ability to distinguish between loose fits and tight fits.  In English we lose this distinction, while in the Korean language the distinction is maintained with two separate verbs.  This research (and research like it) involves showing 5 month olds things like a ring around a post that is initially tight, until they bore of it and look away.  The researchers then show them the varying instances of the same or the converse – like a ring fitting loosely around a post.  If the babies seem more interested in the contrast they are said to be innately predisposed, which is in fact what happens.  For the study’s authors, Paul Bloom, and even St. Augustine, this kind of thing is considered evidence that we are all born with cognitive precursors to language – a variation of the famed Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

Read on for my take… 

 

 

Could the explanations for the babies’ interest possibly be an innate predisposition toward novelty rather than the specific instances of novelty?  For one thing, by repeatedly exposing the babies to the stimulus (other studies use sounds) you are teaching them that the stimulus exists.  Their brains are being wired with something like this thought:  “Hey that sound exists!”  The innate part may be that once our brain is wired in such a manner – once it knows some bit of information – it is no longer as interested in it.  A new sound may pique interest because we are innately predisposed for novelty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could the explanations for the babies’ interest possibly be an innate predisposition toward novelty rather than the specific instances of novelty?  For one thing, by repeatedly exposing the babies to the stimulus (other studies use sounds) you are teaching them that the stimulus exists.  Their brains are being wired with something like this thought:  “Hey that sound exists!”  The innate part may be that once our brain is wired in such a manner – once it knows some bit of information – it is no longer as interested in it.  A new sound may pique interest because we are innately predisposed for novelty.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Could the explanations for the babies’ interest possibly be an innate predisposition toward novelty rather than the specific instances of novelty?  For one thing, by repeatedly exposing the babies to the stimulus (other studies use sounds) you are teaching them that the stimulus exists.  Their brains are being wired with something like this thought:  “Hey that sound exists!”  The innate part may be that once our brain is wired in such a manner – once it knows some bit of information – it is no longer as interested in it.  A new sound may pique interest because we are innately predisposed for novelty.  Continue reading for my take…

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Could the explanations for the babies’ interest possibly be an innate predisposition toward novelty rather than the specific instances of novelty?  For one thing, by repeatedly exposing the babies to the stimulus (other studies use sounds) you are teaching them that the stimulus exists.  Their brains are being wired with something like this thought:  “Hey that sound exists!”  The innate part may be that once our brain is wired in such a manner – once it knows some bit of information – it is no longer as interested in it.  A new sound may pique interest because we are innately predisposed for novelty.

 

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