Calculating probabilities.

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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)

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.

Babies categorizing colours…

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Researchers have revealed that infants aged between 5 and 7 months hold the representation of color categories in their brain, even before the acquisition of language. [1] We believe we have evolved and changed. But we are still that baby which tries to “categorize” everything it sees. Babies we still are. Trapped in the bodies of grown-ups… Try to remember what you once “knew”. And you will understand what you can never know.

Babies. Beeps. Logos…

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Researchers have long known that adults can flexibly find new ways to communicate, for example, using smoke signals or Morse code to communicate at a distance, but a new Northwestern University study is the first to show that this same communicative flexibility is evident even in 6-month-olds.

The researchers set out to discover whether infants could learn that a novel sound was a “communicative signal” and, if so, whether it would confer the same advantages for their learning as does speech.

To do so, they had infants watch a short video in which two people had a conversation — one speaking in English and the other responding in beep sounds. Infants were then tested on whether these novel beep sounds would facilitate their learning about a novel object category, a fundamental cognitive process known to be influenced by speech. Could the beeps, once communicative, have the same effect? Indeed, the researchers found that after seeing the beeps used to communicate, the infants linked beep sounds to categorization just as if they were speech. (1)

In the beginning there was Logos.

And we try to find that ever since.

Into everyone.

Into everything.

A deaf kid. A loving mother. A smile.

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A deaf boy listening to his mother for the first time with the help of a hearing aid…
(1)

Is that lifeless matter organized into something that gives us the impression of consciousness?

Can we really degrade pure happiness and love into lifeless particles?

How much more will we let our beliefs guide our thoughts?

Listen to your heart. Trust your eyes…

Smile.

🙂

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