Academic journal article Science and Children

Mirror, Mirror

Academic journal article Science and Children

Mirror, Mirror

Article excerpt

Last month, I challenged you to draw various shapes, first looking directly at the sheet of paper and then while looking at the paper via a mirror. The second task was no doubt extremely frustrating! The pen doesn't seem to go where you want it to go, and you can even get paralyzed trying to make the pen go in the proper direction to draw the shape. To understand why the mirror task is difficult, all you have to do is watch a baby for a while (it helps if the baby is awake). Babies tend to be clumsy. They reach for things and have trouble grabbing them. They sometimes have difficulty focusing, and they certainly aren't very good at getting a spoon full of food into their mouths. What babies are doing is coordinating the input to their brains (touch and sight, for example) with the messages their brains are sending to their body parts. If the sense to brain to movement connection were easy, then babies would just start walking without any trouble. By the time you're an adult, you've mastered those connections. You desire to move a pen a certain way on a piece of paper, and you just do it. By looking in a mirror, however, you are messing with your brain. …

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