Our whole life we must make decisions and weigh up probabilities of different events. By learning to estimate which event is more likely to happen, we become better at analyzing risks and benefits to guide our actions. But when do we start to gain a sense of stochasticity? Are babies even able to determine likelihood?

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig and the University of Uppsala, Sweden, discovered that even six-month-old babies can estimate probabilities. “Six months seems to be the minimum age at which infants start to deal with probability information. One previous study showed that babies at just four months old were not able to perform this task and therefore seemed to not yet be sensitive to this information”, says Ezgi Kayhan, neuroscientist at MPI CBS and leader of the underlying study.

The neuroscientists investigated these relations by presenting animated film clips to 75 babies aged six, twelve and 18 months. These short movies featured a machine filled with balls, most were blue, some yellow, which in a second sequence ejected lots of the mainly available blue balls into one basket, and into another container mainly yellow balls. In this context it was 625 times less likely that the machine chose yellow balls instead of blue. Therefore, the basket being filled with mainly yellow balls was a very unlikely event. The infants stared longer at the unlikely option independently from the tested age group to which they belonged. (1)

READ ALSO:  Learning machines. Unlearning humans. Void. Arkanoid.

We inherently understand that some things are improbable.

We a priori know that some things should not be.

We are alive.

And we keep wondering why…

And we question what is the meaning of it…

Perhaps deeply inside we know.

We know that we should not be…

We know that we should not be seeing the light…

We know that we belong in the darkness.

Where the moon is shining bright…

With the cosmos already full of light.

Comments (


%d bloggers like this: