The Messier The Smarter...?

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      We have all seen babies play with their food, throw it all over their face, and paint the table with it, but besides being slightly unsanitary and a pain to clean up, it actually says a lot about that kid.  Studies have shown that there is a correlation between messy babies eating, and intelligence.      
       Researchers at the University of Iowa conducted a study of more than 70 kids at 16 months old, to see how well children could learn the names of non-solid foods.  The kids were split into two groups, where the first was placed in a height chair, and the second was placed at a table.  The height chair kids were allowed to play with their food, while the kids at the table were only able to look at it.  The food was then taken away and brought back in different containers, and the kids were tested on how many foodsmessy-baby-eating-in-high-chair250aaol-lifestyle-uk111010.jpg they could correctly name.  Research shows that the kids who sat in their natural environment of the height chair and were able to play with the food scored much better than those at the table.  This shows that putting a toddler in a familiar setting while being able to interact with the food, dramatically increases their memory and recognition skills.  
      Having read about this experiment, I feel that it is actually unfair to test the children's 
knowledge in this way because interacting with the food will only help increase their chances of recognizing it.  All of the human senses such as smell, taste, hear and touch tremendously increase ones memory, and in addition to this they were placed in different seating environments. A more accurate way to test if messier kids are smarter is by only changing one variable, thus having both sets of kids in height chairs which is their natural environment where they feel comfortable being messy, but only allow half of the kids to touch the food.  I think this is a much fairer experiment because it only changes one variable, so seating location will not effect the outcome, therefore the results will be specific to the food.  
      Contrary to all of this,  one thing that I found really interesting is the correlation between messy adults and ADD.  ADD stands for attention deficit disorder, which makes it extremely difficult to focus and stay organized.  According to this site here, one of the main symptoms of ADD is being messy and unable to focus.  The study above stated that the messier the kids are, the better they were at focusing on which foods looked alike and belonged in which containers, but for people suffering with ADD, they experience the oppisite.  I wonder how being "messy" can mean such different things.  For the children, the messier they were the easier it was to focus on the task at hand, but for those with ADD, it's the opposite.  Obviously ADD and food recognition are not linked, but I found it very interesting that the term messy can mean such different things for different age groups!  This site here talks about ADD in more detail if you are interested!

1 Comment

It seems that kids have a hard time naming foods because they are variable and changing in shape as you eat them. Kids therefore have an easier time identifying solid and unchanging shapes. I think that the interacting with the food really was what made them understand it.

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