Studying babies is hard

Life with Caleb, my 19 month old, can be really frustrating these days. We spent 15 minutes listening to babbling screams last night before we figured out he wanted a straw! A straw.

Well, researchers have the same trouble. These researchers were trying to figure out if babies younger than 9 months have the concept of "object permanence" or is it really "out of sight, out of mind." They were stumped because if they put an object under a cloth, if when the removed the cloth, the object was gone, babies would stare longer than if the object was there. Implying that they knew something should still be there. The researchers concluded, very inconclusively, that babies do know the object should be there. They just don’t reach for it because then they’d have to figure out that removing the cloth would show the object. Huh? I think researchers know as little about communicating with babies as the rest of us.