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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Do Youngest Children 'Shrink' When Born?
16 December 2013 12:15 pm
The adage that says mothers tend to baby their youngest children isn’t all fiction. A new study finds that while moms accurately estimate the height of their elder children, they consistently underestimate the height of their youngest. Seventy percent of mothers, researchers found, recall a sudden shift in the size of their youngest child after a new baby was born; the no-longer-youngest child suddenly seemed much bigger. To test whether that was because older children were perceived as larger than reality or younger children were perceived as smaller, and to put numbers to this phenomenon, the scientists asked 77 mothers to mark the estimated height of their 2- to 6-year-old children on a blank wall. While the height estimates of their older children were accurate, mothers guessed that their youngest children were, on average, 7.5 centimeters shorter than their actual height. When a new baby is born, that height guess for the first child jumps and is suddenly more accurate—the “baby illusion” no longer distorts the mother’s estimate. The findings, published online today in Current Biology, could help researchers understand the subconscious factors that influence how parents view their children’s maturity levels or needs.