Story 2014-03-14 3FT Preschoolers Better At Figuring Out How Gadgets Work Than College Students

Preschoolers Better At Figuring Out How Gadgets Work Than College Students

in science on (#3FT)
story imageA recent study [Elsevier - paywalled] revealed that preschool-age children are better at figuring out how to use technological gadgets than college students.

CBS News is reporting that researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, tasked 106 children between the ages of 4 and 5 and 170 college students with figuring out how to use a gadget with which they had no prior experience.

The gadget worked by placing different clay shapes in special boxes to determine which combination would cause a box to light up and play music.

Ultimately, the younger children were reportedly much faster at figuring out the correct combination.
Reply 4 comments

This magazine doesn't work (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-14 05:38 (#J4)

I find it amazing watching a 1-2 year old child successfully use a tablet or other gadget then try the same pitch to zoom on a dead tree magazine.

My challenge (Score: 1)

by on 2014-03-14 17:08 (#JE)

is to keep putting fun and safe challenges in front of my kids because they do climb learning curves incredibly swiftly.

I worry about why we lose this free-form learning as we grow up. I don't believe it has to be that way. Do we "teach" it out of people?

Re: My challenge (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-03-15 03:44 (#JN)

I would say that the brain gets "moulded" in certain ways as we get older, mainly through the environment we are growing up in.
Kids can figure out gadgets quicker as they are not following patterns that we have set in our heads.

Re: My challenge (Score: 1)

by on 2014-03-15 14:06 (#JY)

You're probably onto something there. We learn what has worked in the past and that informs and slows our approach to new problems.

Some people do seem to remain more open and less habitual as they grow up though. Any thoughts on what environmental factors encourage this? I tend to view it as a positive quality.