A rough scale of the abstractness and salience of questions

From How to Break Anything:

Typical times children begin to ask questions, from a lecture at the Medical College of Georgia:

  • “what” 2 yrs
  • “where” 2.6 yrs
  • “who” 3.0 yrs
  • “whose” 3.0 yrs
  • “why” 3.0 yrs
  • “how many” 3.0 yrs
  • “how” 3 ‐ 6 yrs
  • “when” 4 yrs

This could be interpreted as either a rough scale of abstractness, or a rough scale of what is most salient and critical.

via A rough scale of the abstractness/salience of questions – thoughts, insights, and observations – How To Break Anything.

Interesting to see “when” shows up. From my anthropological undergrad, I know that when teaching monkeys sign language, the idea of either the past or the future is beyond their comprehension. I guess that’s when we separate ourselves from our simian cousins.

It also helps us define the sophistication of our messaging to our clients’ target audience, with “what” being the most basic question we need to answer.

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