Kids learn general facts more easily than specifics

New York, July 9 (IANS) Contradicting previous results, a research says children may have easier time learning general or broad facts than the specifics.

During development, children must learn both broad facts about the world (that dogs have four legs, for example) and information that is more specific (that the family dog is scared of snow).

The study, which appeared in the journal Developmental Psychology, found that kids learn general facts so effortlessly that they often cannot tell that they learned anything new at all.

“This fact – that children thought they knew the information about categories all along – provides an interesting window into how their cognitive systems are eager to absorb general facts,” said one of the researchers, Andrei Cimpian, psychology professor at the University of Illinois in the US.

The researchers said much of the previous work suggests that young children are better able to reason about concrete things in the moment.

The study shows that children also are capable of learning about broad, abstract ideas, and that learning at this level might in fact be more efficient for them.

“The fact that kids’ minds are especially attuned to this information is important,” Cimpian said.

“If you learn about dogs as a category, then that information also applies to this dog and the dog you see tomorrow and the dog you will see in a month. Broad facts about the world provide kids with general information that helps them navigate their world.”

Upon learning a previously unknown, categorical fact (“opossums make their homes in foliage,” for example), the four- to seven-year-old children in the study often felt that they already knew that fact.

But when researchers gave them more specific information (“this opossum makes his home in foliage”), the children were better able to recognise that this was something they had not known before.

This difference between general, category-wide facts and specific facts was present even in the youngest children in the study, and its magnitude did not decrease with age.

Overall, though, children’s ability to realise when they learned something new improved with age.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of www.mangalorean.com or any employee thereof. www.mangalorean.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of www.mangalorean.com to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at  info@mangalorean.com. Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here