sooooo, it turns out that non-western children don’t do so well on the old mirror-recognition test. from the bps research digest blog:

“Studies in the West suggest that around half of all 18-month-olds pass the test, rising to 70 per cent by 24 months. Chimps, orangutans, dolphins and elephants have also been shown to pass the test, and there’s recent debate over whether monkeys can too.

“Tanya Broesch and her colleagues began by taking a simplified version of the mirror self-recognition test to Kenya, where they administered it to 82 children aged between 18 to 72 months…. Amazingly, just two of the children ‘passed’ the test by touching or removing the post-it note. The other eighty children ‘froze’ when they saw their reflection – that is they stared at themselves but didn’t react to the post-it note.

“Next, Broesch and her team took their test to Fiji, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Peru, Canada and the USA, where they tested 133 children aged between 36 to 55 months. The performance of the North American children was in line with past research, with 88 per cent of the US kids and 77 per cent of the Canadians ‘passing’ the test. Rates of passing in Saint Lucia (58 per cent), Peru (52 per cent) and Grenada (51 per cent) were significantly lower. In Fiji, none of the children ‘passed’ the test.

the researchers offer various cultural (of course) reasons for the differences.


i wonder if there is any correlation with iq?

speaking of mirror-recognition, check out the loom for a fantastic video! really. don’t miss it!

update: thought i’d try to find out for myself if there was any correlation with iq…

iq data taken from lynn & vanhanen, 2002. there’s a positive correlation of 0.63 between the data which is pretty high given that we’re talking about human behavior.

more data obviously required.

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