Why Kids Think They Are Invisible When Playing Peek-A-Boo

Photo: Flickr/monkeymashbutton

I’ve often wondered why kids are so damned entertained by “peek-a-boo.”Turns out, this is often thought to be intensely entertaining to young kids because they think they can hide from view by just covering their eyes.

Thankfully for my wondering mind, researchers at the University of Cambridge recently published a study in the Journal of Cognition and Development studied just that.

The study gathered data from children ages two through four that went through several different experiments.

The researchers asked the children wearing masks covering their eyes if they could be seen. They asked asked the kids if they thought that researchers could see adults wearing eye masks. Almost all the children felt that they could not be seen as long as their eyes were covered, and that the masks also hid adults from view.

In a second experiment, the researchers gave the children blacked out goggles, or one-way mirror goggles, which that hid the child’s eyes from view but let them see out. The children thought they were hidden either way.

When the researchers asked which body parts were visible, the children admitted that their bodies could still be seen, but made a distinction that their “self” was hidden. Children seem to think that their “self” can not be seen if there is no eye contact, kind of like how people think that the eyes are the window to the soul.

Pretty deep for kids just wanting to play.

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