Think your tot's memory is as mushy as his bowl of oatmeal? "Memory is more innate in babies than we thought," says Lisa Feigenson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. How we know: In a new study Feigenson coauthored, 14-month-olds could better remember how many toys they saw placed in a box if the toys consisted of groups, such as two stuffed cats and two toy cars, than if all the toys were unrelated. (After discovering one cat, for instance, they knew they needed to keep looking for the other one.) What it means: As adults, we group things together to increase memory, and this study shows that we come equipped to do this as tots. In another exercise, Feigenson dropped two crackers in a bucket and one cracker in another. Almost all the toddlers went to the bucket with two. "They use their memory to make a comparison that two is more than one." What it means: Babies understand -- and remember -- the concept of more.
Put a rattle under a blanket in front of your baby, then discreetly swap the rattle for a ball. If after finding the ball your little smarty continues to search, that means he remembers the rattle. But don't worry if he doesn't: He could be sleepy, hungry, or just very interested in the ball, says Feigenson. Try again another time.