Babies learn whom to trust at an early age

You can fool them once, but babies will not be fooled again if adults trick them, according to a new Canadian study.

Infants normally mimic sounds, facial expressions and actions they observe but researchers at Concordia University in Montreal found that if an adult tricks them, they will no longer follow along with that person.

The findings published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development bolster previous evidence that infants can differentiate between credible and un-credible sources, the study said.

"Like older children, infants keep track of an individual's history of being accurate or inaccurate and use this information to guide their subsequent learning," said researcher Diane Poulin-Dubois, a professor in Concordia's department of psychology.

"Specifically, infants choose not to learn from someone who they perceive as unreliable."

To demonstrate this, experimenters looked inside a container while expressing excitement and invited infants aged 13 to 16 months to discover whether the box actually contained a toy or was empty.

Then, the same experimenters used their forehead instead of their hands to turn on a push-on light, hoping the infant would follow suit.

Only 34 percent of infants paired with unreliable testers followed the task while 61 percent of infants whose testers were reliable imitated the behavior.

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