Question Sheet: How Much Babies Know


Before reading:

  1. How might you tell what a baby who can’t talk yet really knows? 
  2. In terms of survival, what are the most important things that a person must

    learn to do?

During reading:

  1. Why is it important to study baby behavior? 
  2. David Rakison said, “I’ve become a cattle mutilator.” What did he mean by


  3. In Rakison’s study of baby behavior, what is the independent variable? What

    is the dependent variable? Is there a control? 

  4. Why might babies who have never before seen a spider or snake be afraid of

    these animals?

After reading:

  1. Babies do more than just eat, sleep, cry, and look around, the article says.

    “They really have something going on in their minds,” David Bjorklund adds. Was

    there enough evidence provided in this article to persuade you that this is

    true? What else might you wish to know or see in order to decide? 

  2. Are there actions other than touching or reaching for an item that might

    give you a hint that a baby has recognized a certain object? 

  3. If you saw a 2-year-old “hopping” every object whether or not it should hop,

    would you worry about the child? Why or why not? 

  4. What do you learn by imitating others? Are there things you learn in other


  5. If you were babysitting for a baby or toddler, are there things that you

    might notice now that you wouldn’t have noticed before reading this article?

    What are they? 

  6. Would you allow a child to participate in the kind of study described in

    this article? Would it make any difference if you were being paid to have him or

    her participate?


What might childhood have been like in ancient times? For example, in ancient Greece more than 2,000 years ago, what did kids play with? What sorts of games did they have? How were babies treated and cared for? See (U.S. News and World Report) and (J. Paul Getty Museum).


  1. Come up with your own title and a one-sentence summary for this article. 
  2. How many meanings of the word “model” can you come up with? Which of these

    definitions is most like the use of the word in this article?


Five children found a way to get themselves all weighed on a coin-operated weighing machine with just one coin. Two of them got on the stand at the same time, and one child changed places with another until all 10 possible pairs had been weighed. The weights, in pounds, were as follows: 114, 115, 118, 119, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, and 129. What are their

individual weights?