My youngest child, now just over a year old, has started to talk. Even though I’ve experienced this process with my older two, it’s absolutely thrilling. He is putting words to the thoughts that swirl around in his sweet little head, making his mind a little less mysterious to the rest of us.
But these early words may not mean what we think they mean, a new study hints. Unsurprisingly, when 2-year-olds were asked a series of “this or that” questions, the toddlers showed strong preferences — but not for the reasons you’d think. Overwhelmingly, the toddlers answered the questions with the last choice given.
That bias, described in PLOS ONE on June 12, suggests that young children’s answers to these sorts of questions don’t actually reflect their desires. Instead, kids may simply be echoing the last thing they heard.
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