Infant illusionists

I love illusion and “magic”. Perhaps this is because my mother used to be a magician’s assistant.

I once talked to a magician (family friend) about different types of audiences. Apparently illusions fall rather flat if your audience consists of young children (under the age of about 5). Show them a coin and make it disappear and they are not amazed. In fact they just seem to file the information away under “sometimes coins just vanish” (looking at my bank account I could also be persuaded of this).

It appears that children may use observation to learn basic science facts. So some of that annoying infant/toddler behaviour might just be scientific experimentation.

Perhaps babies who continually throw their posessions out of the stroller are not just being difficult, they are repeating experiments demonstrating the power of gravity. Similarly toddlers splashing spoons into food may be exploring the differences between solids and liquids.

I don’t know of any studies looking at child development in terms of physics knowledge but it’s an interesting observation.


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Filed under Observation, Science

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