“A team of researchers has shown that 8-month-old infants expect objects they identify as animals to have insides. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
University of Illinois professor of psychology Renée Baillargeon, who led the new study with graduate student Peipei Setoh, said that many psychologists have theorized that babies are born with core physical and psychological frameworks that help them navigate the world.
For instance, when babies see a self-propelled object, their core physical framework leads them to understand that the object has internal energy. And when babies see that an object has control over its actions (that is, responds to changes in its environment), their core psychological framework leads them to view the object as an agent that has mental states.
“In each case, babies seem to be born equipped with abstract expectations that drive their reasoning,” Baillargeon said.”