Children may be good in making observations about people and places, but they may not be as good as recognizing faces, according to a study.
We may think that kids' ability to recognize faces may be just as sharp as their ability to make keen observations about everyday things.
We may think that when a child is quick to point out to a cloud looking like a dinosaur would be the same as when the child points to a man looking like the mailman.
Scientists have an explanation after the results in their study revealed that children's visual cortex showed higher activity in the area responsible for recognizing places than in the area for recognizing faces.
Using MRI, the scientists studied the structures of the brains of 22 kids (ages 5 to 12) and 25 young adults (ages 22 to 28).
The result showed that the place-sensitive area called collateral sulcus, does not change much from childhood to adult. That area of the brain is found to have been already fully developed in childhood years.
Whereas the face-sensitive area called fusiform gyrus is found to have denser tissues in adults than kids. This means that this area of the brain is still developing from childhood up to adulthood. This also means that adults are better in recognizing faces than kids.
The scientists have formulated various reasons to justify how the face-sensitive area is developing in stages and increasing in number over time. One reason may be because of the increasing number of dendrites, the finger-like projection in nerve cells; or the increasing number of oligodendrocytes, the brain cell responsible for the production of myelin coating in nerve cells.
Jesse Gomez, a neuroscientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine who led the study, has a practical input on why all these are happening.
“Throughout development, our social circle grows,” Gomez says. “That might be one reason why the region continues to grow — that piece of hardware in the brain itself just takes time to develop.”
The researchers published their report in Science.
See: Superhero Culture Promotes Aggressive Behavior in Children, Study Suggests