Rational constructivism: n. an approach to cognitive development; "with limited amounts of evidence, infants and young children can revise their beliefs and acquire new concepts"
Researchers have recently demonstrated that infants are rational constructivist learners. Infants have been shown to take into account probabilities when making inferences from samples to populations. In one experiment, infants were shown a box filled with 80% red balls and 20% white balls. Then, an experimenter drew five balls out at random. When the experimenter drew out a sample of four red balls and one white ball, the infants found this sample probable; when the experimenter drew out four white balls and one red ball, the infants spent more time looking at the sample, indicating that the infant found the sample novel, unexpected and therefore improbable.
Besides that, infants engage in hypothesis testing. In rule-learning experiments, infants appeared to learn a narrow rule (AA-di) after being shown exemplars such as leledi, wiwidi and jijidi.. When they were given one extra piece of information that broke this narrow rule (e.g. AA-da), the infants responded appropriately and altered their hypotheses.
Kushnir, T., Xu, F. (2013). Infants are Rational Constructivist Learners. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(1), 28-32.
Martin, M.F. (2009, August 26). Ecological and Constructivist Rationality. Retrieved January 31, 2013, from Broken Symmetry: http://brokensymmetry.typepad.com/broken_symmetry/2009/08/ecological-and-constructivist-rationality.html.