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New BYU study turns infant brain development process on its head

Figuring out what’s going on in the mind of a baby is tricky, but Brigham Young University psychologist Ross Flom has a proven track record, having already discovered that babies understand the moods of dog barks and Beethoven symphonies.

For an encore, he sat 6- and 12-month old babies down in front of pictures of monkeys – Barbary macaques, to be precise. Flom and his students tested whether the babies could spot subtle differences in the macaques’ facial features.

Both the 6-month-olds and the 12-month-olds succeeded. And the fact that the older children could do it is actually more surprising, for it calls into question a tenet of infant development called “perceptual narrowing.” The concept is that babies’ minds begin to narrow around six months of age and specialize and focus on the nuances of familiar things that they see and hear every day.

Read the rest of this story at news.byu.edu
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