As the human species moves forward it becomes vitally important to understand the inner workings of the mind and physical development of our future generation so that we know the world will be left in good hands. Towards this goal, Scientific AmeriKen is proud to announce the start of an 18 year long study to analyze child development. Through the power of procreation Scientific AmeriKen has acquired one human boy and will thusly proceed in a battery of test to understand him. Findings from this ongoing study will be published alongside standard Scientific AmeriKen experiments. Although larger experiments will be planned for the future, the data given here will focus on preliminary observations as well as some initial experiments to test his responsiveness to experimentation.
Needed for these various experiments is one human baby, balloons, washer/dryer, crib, scale, pen and paper. Observational analysis includes feeding times, weight change of Scientific AmeriKen vs Child, and general observations. For color preference analysis, balloons of different color where held at arm's length and moved in a circular pattern over the child (3 wks old). Eye movements were tracked and preference was noted by how long tracking would occur. Finally, the effect of washer/dryer on sleep was performed by testing ability of infant (4 wks old) to sleep by varying the distance of the crib to the washer/dryer.
General Observations: The boy was born at roughly 1 AM at a weight of 6 lbs 15 oz and has had an immediate impact on the sleep patters of Scientific AmeriKen. Feeding pattern analysis (data not shown) of the first 5 days back from the hospital show average times between feedings to be 1 hour 32 (± 49) minutes suggesting disrupted sleep patterns for Scientific AmeriKen and co-experimenter Claudia. The effect of sleep on Scientific AmeriKen's weight (figure on right) is unknown, however, leading up to and through the first 15-20 days after birth Scientific AmeriKen lost roughly 8-10 pounds. Coincidentally around day 15 a new shift system was implemented whereby one parent would observe child while the other slept allowing for greater gains in total daily sleep, but whether this extra sleep is what ended the decline of weight loss is unknown. Future research into sleep deprivation dieting may be warranted.
Gains in child physical development are rapid. In just 45 days from birth the child has grown roughly 70% in mass (figure on right) and ~15% in length (data not shown). Gains in mental acuity appear rapid as well. At age of roughly 35-40 days the child has developed some rudimentary speech form that to date has not been translated. However, one phrase "meh-glue" appears to refer to co-experimenter Claudia. In summary, our preliminary observations seem to indicate the child is fully functional and will be an excellent scientific model for experimentation.
To assess color preferences we subjected the child to a balloon tracking experiment. Child was shown the balloon and as soon as it appeared the eyes focused on the balloon it was rotated slowly around the child (video on left). The order the colors were presented to the child and results are indicated in table 1 below.
Follow-0o Extreme dislike!
Table 1. Visual tracking of Ballons
Although there appeared to be some preference for the pink balloon there was a large possibilty the child had grown bored of the game. Then again in some earlier trials there was what appeared to be an expression of intense dislike for the blue balloon the reason is unknown and followed in future study. Although this preliminary study does not show a preference for any one color it demonstrates the child's keen and dangerous eye for tracking.
Sleep Assist Experiment
Getting the child to rest is of the utmost importance to combat parental sleep deprivation and maintain sanity. Several strategies were used including singing, rocking chairs, mobiles, swaying side to side, swaddling, utilizing specialist (grandparents), using a stroller and car rides, playing loud music as well as maintaining perfect silence, asking the child to sleep, even bribery. The seemingly most effective of these various techniques (not all listed) was placement of a crib near an active washer/dryer. One limitation of this is the child must remain in close proximity to the washer/dryer. In this experiment the effective range of the washer/dryer was tested by varying the placement of the crib and observing if sleep occurred (Table 2). Results indicate sleep was achieved only inside of 4 feet. Although sleepiness was observed at 10 feet the child remained active.
Table 2. Effective range of Washer/dryer on Sleep
These preliminary experiments pave the way for many wonderful experiments to come. They have already established functional vision that is inline or even better than predictions and assisted in finding various methodologies to get the baby to sleep. Over the course of 18 years Scientific AmeriKen is hopeful to explore a range of experiments to delve into deeper understanding of how the child functions. Early experiments may explore the unique language the child speaks, while later ones on the ability of the child to get a job. Taken together Scientific AmeriKen is excited about this new direction of experimentation and looks forward to a bright future!
Again, special thanks to Science Chat Forum for offering a wonderful place to discuss science including this experiment - click here to discuss!