Kids need more time than adults give them, study finds

Aug 09, 2006
Children playing. Photo credit: Wayne MacPhail
Children playing. Photo credit: Wayne MacPhail

Further proof that children require more time comes via a study to be published today in Developmental Science asserting that the fast pace expected by adults - both parents and educators - can be beyond children's perceptual abilities.

"Children are increasingly being expected to provide an adult-level of detail and information," says David Shore, associate professor in McMaster University's Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. "Adults have had years to hone their perceptual skills; children - even 10 year olds - are just starting out."

The study is the first to probe so-called change blindness in children, a hot topic in psychology circles especially when it pertains to gauging the veracity of children who are called upon to give eyewitness testimony in court.

The results surprised Shore.

"When it comes to many aspects of attention, an eight-year-old's skill is adult-like," says Shore. "But on this particular skill we never thought 10-year-olds would differ so dramatically from adults. Kids do not appear adult-like in this regard until their early teens."

Shore's study looked at the development of change detection in children ranging from ages six to 10 and found that, contrary to societal perception, even 10-year-olds cannot be relied upon to provide adult-like details. The reason is that children have undeveloped and, therefore, imprecise attention, he says. Their difficulties with eyewitness testimony may not stem from memory errors alone but may arise due to difficulty in perceiving some critical aspects of a scene in the first place.

"We expect children to be adult-like, because of their proficiency on computers or because they display adult-like speech," he says, "so we give them instructions and get impatient when they can't understand what we tell them the first time. Children learn through repetition, at a pace suitable to the child, not to the curriculum. Once upon a time, kids controlled their own pace; now that pace is controlled by adults."

Source: by Jane Christmas, McMaster University

Explore further: More penalties on the way for hospitals that treat the poor? New study suggests so

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China completes first mission to moon and back

11 hours ago

China completed its first return mission to the moon early Saturday with the successful re-entry and landing of an unmanned probe, state media reported, in the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious ...

Breaking down DNA by genome

11 hours ago

New DNA sequencing technologies have greatly advanced genomic and metagenomic studies in plant biology. Scientists can readily obtain extensive genetic information for any plant species of interest, at a relatively low cost, ...

Recommended for you

Are my muscular dystrophy drugs working?

11 hours ago

People with muscular dystrophy could one day assess the effectiveness of their medication with the help of a smartphone-linked device, a new study in mice suggests. The study used a new method to process ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.