Babies Children's Health
09212017_baby_learning_AP Julia Anne Leonard/via AP

This undated image taken from video provided by Julia Anne Leonard shows a "handoff" of a baby handing the toy to the parent. Children around 15 months old can become more persistent in pursuing a goal if they’ve just seen an adult succeed after struggling, a new study says. (See second image below.)

September 21, 2017

Nevertheless, they persist: Babies can copy adult tenacity

NEW YORK — If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Especially if a baby is watching.

A new study says children around 15 months old can become more persistent in pursuing a goal if they've just seen an adult struggle at a task before succeeding.

In the research, that happened even though the babies had to solve a different problem than the grown-ups did.

NoneJulia Anne Leonard/via AP

This combination of undated images taken from video provided by Julia Anne Leonard shows a “handoff” of a baby handing the toy to the parent, left, or throwing the toy to the ground during a study conducted by researchers.


The children tried their own task after watching a woman solve two challenges. Some saw the woman appear to struggle before she succeeded, and others saw her succeed quite easily. The children who watched the struggle were more persistent.

The researchers say the results suggest there may be value in letting children "see you sweat."

The study was released Thursday by the journal Science.