Preschoolers Outsmart College Students

Kids have a knack for figuring out how things work. While adults may see a problem, study it, and predict outcomes based on experience rather than testing, younger children can be much more willing to take a more hands-on approach.  This allows them the ability to figure out some seemingly complex problems, quicker than adults.

Do you have a preschooler who learns at lightning speed? Or a child who’s solved a math problem that left you scratching your head? Researchers at Berkeley suggest you are not alone. They created an experiment to test how preschoolers accomplish this.

The researchers hypothesized that preschoolers are able to think in a way that allows them to answer complex questions in simple ways.  The study asked that children and adults find which objects were ‘blickets’, or items that made the box ‘turn on’.  The children were able to subconsciously pick up on the concept that just because something is implied does not necessarily mean that it’s true. The researchers are using these results to actually make computers ‘smarter’, by designing them to find these quick solutions.

The study went on to explain:

“One big question, looking forward, is what makes children more flexible learners — are they just free from the preconceptions that adults have, or are they fundamentally more flexible or exploratory in how they see the world?” said Christopher Lucas, lead author of the paper and a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. “Regardless, children have a lot to teach us about learning.”

To learn more about this experiment you can watch the full study in progress here:

Image by D Sharon Pruitt, via flickr

Related Articles

Join our community

Sign up to participate in America’s premier community focused on helping students
reach their full potential.