Toddlers Know More Math Than You Think

Children frequently learn by observing people around them. Without any instruction, for example, many toddlers figure out how to turn on a TV or twist open a door handle. Now, scientists have found that 2- year-olds may also rely on probability to make sense of their world.

During a game of probability, many toddlers were able to choose a winning strategy, they found. In the game, the toddlers watched an adult play with one of two blocks to get a prize. When the toddlers played the game, they tended to choose the block that resulted in more prizes.

“In the real world, there are multitudes of possible ways to solve a problem, but how do we learn how to find the best solution?” lead author Anna Waismeyer, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences in Seattle, said in a statement. “In our study, we wanted to see if young children could detect the difference between two imperfect ways of winning a game, and then use the better strategy to their own advantage.”


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