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  Newsmakers   ‘Kids watch their parents to decide which foods to like’

‘Kids watch their parents to decide which foods to like’

PTI
Published : Aug 14, 2016, 6:37 am IST
Updated : Aug 14, 2016, 6:37 am IST

Parents, take note! If you want your baby to love broccoli, you better like it too, because the little one is watching you to learn which foods are good and bad, researchers say.

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Parents, take note! If you want your baby to love broccoli, you better like it too, because the little one is watching you to learn which foods are good and bad, researchers say.

“A main finding from this research is that babies learning about food is fundamentally social,” said Zoe Liberman from Unive-rsity of California (UC) Santa Barbara in the US. “When they see someone eat a food, they can use the person’s reaction to the food to learn about the food itself, such as whether it is edible,” said Liberman. She noted that past studies suggested that babies were not especially smart thinkers when it came to food. But according to Liber-man, infants’ thinking about food is more much more sophisticated than we’ve given them credit for. In addition to learning about whether foods are generally good versus bad, which is a skill humans share with other animals (including chimpanzees and rats), babies’ expectations about food preferences, she said, are fundamentally social.

 

Babies understand that what someone eats can provide information about that person’s social group.

“Babies do not just learn that a food is good, they learn that a specific kind of people like that food. For example, we found that if infants see an English-speaker like a food, they expect other English-speakers to agree, but do not necessarily think somebody who speaks a different language, like Spanish, will agree,” said Liberman.

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