Infants ask for help to avoid errors.

post by Bruce W. Lee (bruce-lee) · 2024-04-02T18:10:22.574Z · LW · GW · 0 comments

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Infants can recognize when they are unsure and effectively ask for help, demonstrating early metacognitive skills. This evidences their performance in a nonverbal task designed to assess memory and uncertainty.

Significance (copied from paper)
Although many animals have been shown to monitor their own uncertainty, only humans seem to have the ability to explicitly communicate their uncertainty to others. It remains unknown whether this ability is present early in development, or whether it only emerges later alongside language development. Here, using a nonverbal memory-monitoring paradigm, we show that infants are able to strategically ask for help to avoid making mistakes. These findings reveal that infants are capable of monitoring and communicating their own uncertainty. We propose that explicit metacognition develops earlier than previously thought, enabling infants to communicate their own uncertainty nonverbally to gain knowledge from others.

Study Overview: Involved 20-month-old infants tasked with remembering the location of a hidden toy. Infants could nonverbally request help if uncertain about the toy's location.

Experimental Findings:

Individual Differences in Seeking Help:


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