We describe a surprising developmental pattern we found in studies involving three different kinds of problems and age ranges. Younger learners are better than older ones at learning unusual abstract causal principles from evidence. We explore two factors that might contribute to this counterintuitive result. The first is that as our knowledge grows, we become less open to new ideas. The second is that younger minds and brains are intrinsically more flexible and exploratory, although they are also less efficient as a result.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Bayesian models
- causal learning
- cognitive development
- simulated annealing