Give a preschooler a gadget, and give a college student the same gadget. Who will figure out how to work it first? One might assume the college student, but according to a recent study, the preschooler will figure it out quicker.
CBS News reports a study that will be published in the journal Cognition found that preschoolers might be able to figure out gadgets more quickly than college students because they are "less fixed than adults in their ideas about cause and effect."
In the study, 106 children and 170 college students were given a gadget that worked in an unusual way. Their task was to place different shapes on a box to find out which shapes got the box to light up and play music. The preschoolers blew the college students out of the water.
This study demonstrates that children are flexible learners; they can learn abstract cause- and-effect relationships. Adults, on the other hand, prefer to follow the common and obvious rules.