By their first birthday most children cannot walk or talk well but they can predict the results of human actions as well as adults, according to new research. Whereas six-month-old babies can only track a human hand placing a toy in a bucket, one-year-olds show the same facility in anticipating the result as adults do.
Terje Falck-Ytter and his colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden tested the responses of 11 babies, 11 toddlers and 11 adults when watching nine identical videos of an actor’s hand placing three toys into a bucket. Both adults and toddlers moved their eyes to the bucket before the hand finished its motion and did so in roughly the same amount of time. The babies, however, did not shift their eyes until the hand had reached the bucket.