Babies learn about perseverance as they see adult failure

Do you know when you try to open a glass of olives and over done a convict? The task becomes a matter of honor and you don't give up until you get it done. Although frustrating, it can be a great learning experience for babies who witness the scene. At least that's what a recently published survey concluded.

Scientists have shown that babies as young as 13 months of age are able to draw inspiration from adult failures and overcoming to achieve goals they regard as unreachable.

For this, the children needed to solve a small challenge to activate a musical toy. Before that, some of them saw adults who had problems solving simple tasks, such as removing a key from a carabiner, but having a hard time completing it.


Babies learn from adults

The babies watching the scene insisted most on solving the puzzle to activate the musical toy. Those who received only the toy but not the encouragement of perseverance were the ones who abandoned the task the most in the first failed attempts to turn on the little song.

Other previous studies had shown that school-age children who were persevering in simple and routine tasks were those most likely to succeed academically. The problem was to define how and when this perseverance was applied by infants.

The new study was done by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the help of 260 babies aged 13 to 18 months. They were divided into three groups: those who saw adults fail, those who saw adults insisting and completing the task, and those who saw no adults.


Babies insist on task when seeing adult perseverance

The staging included trying to remove the carabiner key while the adults repeated self-encouraging phrases during the task - always careful to make eye contact with the babies. Then they would activate a hidden button on a toy box that played a song, hand it over to the baby, and then leave the room.

One idea, according to the researchers, is to encourage parents to solve small puzzles at home in order to stimulate the persevering behavior of their children. That is, as easy as opening a can of olives, how about showing difficulty and overcoming for your children?