Sunday, May 29, 2011

inside the infant mind

MITNews | Over the past two decades, scientists have shown that babies only a few months old have a solid grasp on basic rules of the physical world. They understand that objects can’t wink in and out of existence, and that objects can’t “teleport” from one spot to another.

Now, an international team of researchers co-led by MIT’s Josh Tenenbaum has found that infants can use that knowledge to form surprisingly sophisticated expectations of how novel situations will unfold.

Furthermore, the scientists developed a computational model of infant cognition that accurately predicts infants’ surprise at events that violate their conception of the physical world.

The model, which simulates a type of intelligence known as pure reasoning, calculates the probability of a particular event, given what it knows about how objects behave. The close correlation between the model’s predictions and the infants’ actual responses to such events suggests that infants reason in a similar way, says Tenenbaum, associate professor of cognitive science and computation at MIT.

“Real intelligence is about finding yourself in situations that you’ve never been in before but that have some abstract principles in common with your experience, and using that abstract knowledge to reason productively in the new situation,” he says.

The study, which appears in the May 27 issue of Science, is the first step in a long-term effort to “reverse-engineer” infant cognition by studying babies at ages 3-, 6- and 12-months (and other key stages through the first two years of life) to map out what they know about the physical and social world. That “3-6-12” project is part of a larger Intelligence Initiative at MIT, launched this year with the goal of understanding the nature of intelligence and replicating it in machines. Fist tap Dale.

5 comments:

Big Don said...

BD envisions a slick IQ test for infants.  Subject the "test infant" to a set of progressively more subtle standardized cognition scenarios and score the degree of response.  Provides a dandy "SAT" of sorts for kidee applying to elite pre-schools...

Dale Asberry said...

Because Big Don knows ALL ABOUT the infantile mind!

CNu said...

rotflmbao...,

http://www.depressedchild.org/images/crime-scene-do-not-cross.jpg

Big Don said...

Purely as an academic exercise, might be interesting to see if the classic 1-Sigma shift between certain group bell curves reproduces in infants...

Tom said...

Yeah we all saw where you were going with your baby IQ test BD, despite our respective genetic handicaps.

Try working with tech geeks from West Africa sometime, the cognitive dissonance will probably give you a stroke.   Whatever you're talking about it's not genetics.

Real World (TM).  Tagline:  "Jump In Anytime!"