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Toddlers triumphant

Advances in object recognition around age 2 may herald symbolic thought

By
6:14pm, July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Something extraordinary happens between 18 and 24 months of age. In that brief span, toddlers take giant strides in their ability to visually inspect, recognize and manipulate various items. This achievement puts toddlers on par with adults given comparable tasks.

This developmental leap has been tracked for the first time by researchers at IndianaUniversity in Bloomington who have created a special head-mounted camera that toddlers wear as they play with toys.

The device allowed the team to measure expansion of object recognition among toddlers. This development feeds into rapid advances made during the same time period in the ability to learn objects’ names and to engage in pretend play, a basic form of symbolic thinking, psychologist Linda Smith said while describing the work July 24 in Washington, D.C., during the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

“Something v

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