TED Talk Challenge #10: Alison Gopnik: What do babies think
October 19, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve been saying for years that babies and young children are the most amazing learning machines on the planet. God it’s good to have someone confirm that.
Alison demonstrates that babies minds work like brilliant little scientists; building hypotheses, experimenting, evaluating ideas and reforming a new hypothesis based on new learning. This blows the idea that babies are dumb and egocentric out of the water. They’re in fact extremely altruistic and empathetic. She also demonstrates the link between how long babies stay with their parents and the size of their brains, which is common in most animals.
I think the part I like the most is when Alison says the experiments she’s been doing have demonstrated that children are better at working out unlikely hypotheses than adults. Why does this not surprise me?
I’ve been saying for years that although the education system isn’t bad, it could be massively improved. The problem being that babies spend about five years running about the backyard playing, yet manage to learn more in those five years of life than they will for their entire lives. Then suddenly we decide that we need to sit them down in a room full of other children who all want to play and tell them to sit still, shut up and learn. What the fuck is wrong with us to think this is best for them?
And the kid in the video is seriously adorable. If nothing else you’ve gotta see that.