PerspectivePsychology

Logic in babies

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Science  16 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6381, pp. 1214-1215
DOI: 10.1126/science.aas9183

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Summary

The success of science rests on our human ability to reason logically. But where does this ability come from? Is it an inherent attribute of mind that even a young child might possess, or is it a hard-won accomplishment mastered later in life? On page 1263 of this issue, Cesana-Arlotti et al. (1) reveal that one essential form of logical inference, process of elimination, is within the toolkit of 12-month-old infants. This reveals the earliest known foundations of our human ability to reason logically. The race to document the range of early logical abilities shared by infants, adults, and nonhuman animals, and to determine how these foundational abilities empower our broader capacities to reason, has begun.