How Kids Learn Cause And Effect

A pioneering study of child psychologyexamined the reactions of 4-year-olds when faced with two different blocks that, placed on top of a box, made music play. If block A resulted in music 2 out of 3 times but block B only 1 out of 3 times, then kids overwhelming chose block A when asked which block made the music. But, if the kids were allowed to place 2 of the blocks themselves, and block B made music and block A didn’t, then they overwhelmingly chose block B when asked which block made the music. The upshot? Kids understand both probability and their own agency when assessing cause and effect. They tend to assess more value to the latter, which might be because you convinced them they’re the center of the universe.

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