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At Figuring Out Gizmos Preschoolers Outsmart College Students [Video]

Update Date: Mar 07, 2014 10:13 AM EST

When it comes to determining gizmos, preschoolers are smarter than college students, a new research has found. Preschoolers are able to figure out how unusual toys and gadgets work as they are more flexible and less biased compared adults.

The new research from University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh suggested that technology and innovation can benefit from the exploratory learning and probabilistic reasoning that came naturally to young children.

"As far as we know, this is the first study examining whether children can learn abstract cause and effect relationships, and comparing them to adults," said UC Berkeley developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, senior author of the paper in the press release. 

Researchers used a game called "Blickets" to monitor the responses of around 106 preschoolers aged 4 and 5. Around 170 students from college were also part of the study. Both segment of the subjects were asked to figure out a gizmo in an unusual way. It involved placing clay shapes on a red-topped box to see which of the widgets could light up the box and play music as well. The widgets would be individual or in a combination.

"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?" added Christopher Lucas, lead author of the paper and a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, in the press release. "Regardless, children have a lot to teach us about learning."

The findings of the study has been published online in the journal Cognition.

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