Built-in brain “temp­lates”

Built-in brain “temp­lates” may clue tots to threats
Do babies know some­thing about spi­ders be­fore ever see­ing one?

In their stu­dy, Rak­i­son and Der­rin­ger sat 16 five-month-old ba­bies on their par­ents’ laps and showed them three sim­ple, sche­mat­ic pic­tures. One de­picted a spi­der; a sec­ond, the same spi­der with its legs point­ed in un­nat­u­ral di­rec­tions, so that the ob­vi­ous spi­der re­sem­blance was lost; and third, the same spi­der with its body parts to­tally scram­bled.

The in­fants looked at the normal spi­der for about 24 sec­onds on av­er­age, com­pared to 16 or 17 sec­onds for the oth­er
images, the re­search­ers found.
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via: World Science - Science News
related: The newborn mind's not-quite "blank slate"