It is a game enjoyed by almost every baby – and scientists believe they have finally found the reasons peekaboo is so popular, Daily Mail reports.
They key, they claim, is that the game can be adapted as the child grows – and helps them develop key skills.
Researchers believe that the game can even help young children get over the fear of being away from their mother.
Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget dubbed this principle ‘object permanence’, and research found that babies spent the first two years developing the technique.
Research has even been conducted into how important the pitch in a parent’s voice is.
Several research projects have studied the game.
Researchers led by James Russell at the University of Cambridge believe the appeal of the game is fooling the children into thinking they are invisible.
The team carried out the first study into this bizarre trait with groups of three and four-year-old children.
The children’s eyes were covered with masks and they were then asked whether they could be seen by the researchers – with most saying no. Many also believed that the researchers could not see adults who were wearing eye masks – leading to the conclusion most young children believe that anyone who covers their eyes is obscured from other people’s view. The researchers then attempted to distinguish what exactly creates the feeling of invisibility - whether it was not being able to see at all or just because the other person couldn’t see their eyes.
The children were given a pair of mirrored goggles so that while they could see through the glasses, no one could see their eyes. Unfortunately, only seven of the 37 participating children were able to get to grips with the idea that while they could still see, no one could see their eyes.
But of those who did understand the concept, six believed they were invisible if the researchers couldn’t see their eyes, even if they could still see them. Although when the children were asked to explain how they were made invisible by simply hiding their eyes, many knew that their bodies remained visible, suggesting a childhood distinction between their physical bodies and the ‘self’ they connect to their eyes.
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