Nevin Manimala Statistics

Sampling statistics are like story creation: a network analysis of parent-toddler exploratory play

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2023 Feb 13;378(1870):20210358. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2021.0358. Epub 2022 Dec 26.


Actions in the world elicit data for learning and do so in a stream of interconnected events. Here, we provide evidence on how toddlers with their parent sample information by acting on toys during exploratory play. We observed 10 min of free-flowing and unconstrained object exploration of by toddlers (mean age 21 months) and parents in a room with many available objects (n = 32). Borrowing concepts and measures from the study of narratives, we found that the toy selections are not a string of unrelated events but exhibit a suite of what we call coherence statistics: Zipfian distributions, burstiness and a network structure. We discuss the transient memory processes that underlie the moment-to-moment toy selections that create this coherence and the role of these statistics in the development of abstract and generalizable systems of knowledge. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Concepts in interaction: social engagement and inner experiences’.

PMID:36571129 | DOI:10.1098/rstb.2021.0358

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