Anyone who has ever engaged in a round of peekaboo with a child has witnessed an adorable yet somewhat illogical behavior that is nearly universally shared among children: the attempt to hide from view by simply closing their eyes. This is cute and all, but it’s also baffling. Why do children think they can render themselves invisible? And why have nearly all young children come to this same irrational conclusion?
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Researchers at the University of Cambridge have turned their attentions to this mystery by performing a variety of simple tests on groups of 3 and 4-year-old children. The researchers first placed the children in eye masks and asked them whether they could be seen by the researchers, as well as whether the researchers could see other adults if those adults were wearing eye masks. Nearly all the children felt that they were obscured from view as long as their eyes were masked, and most of them also thought the eye masks shielded the adults from view as well.
Next, they questioned a second group of children wearing one of two different sets of goggles. The first set of goggles were blacked out completely. The second set were one-way-mirrored, meaning the children’s eyes were obscured from view but the children could see out of the goggles.
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