It’s child’s play

Piaget's view - that children learn through play and exploration - is widely accepted as being integral to cognitive development. Surprisingly few scientists, however, have systematically investigated how exploration is structured to support learning mechanisms in different situations and even fewer have studied it in non-human animals. Traditionally, the methodological approach for studying cognitive development in human and non-human animals has been very different, but a comparative approach can be very informative. We exploited the strong explorative tendencies of parrots and human children, and designed a series of comparative experiments to provide a window into the mechanisms and strategies used in causal learning. …

Zoe Demery 2012