November 8: Become As Little Children

4 years ago

Day 8: I am thankful for the support of loved ones. #daysofthanksgiving


I have too much in my head today to really sort out, so I’m opting for cross posting one of my Rational Faiths posts.  This one is about a TED talk by Dr. Alison Gopnik and how we can use her research to redefine becoming as little children:

Little ChildDr. Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and philosophy at UC Berkley, presented a TED talk titled, “What Do Babies Think?” in 2011. Dr. Gopnik’s specialization is early learning, and she began by discussing her research on the development of compassion, and when a child develops awareness of another’s perspective, especially when that perspective differs from their own. She discussed a study she did that showed a child at 18 months was capable of understanding that someone else had preferences different than their own, and would act accordingly.  At 15 months, children on the whole were incapable of understanding this.  Somewhere in those three months seems to be the time frame for learning the skill of compassion.  It was fascinating, and I encourage you to watch the TED talk.  BUT, for me, it wasn’t even the most intriguing part of the talk.

Dr. Gopnik goes on to explain that once they figured out this time frame for the development of compassion, thus showing that it is a learned behavior (that idea deserves its own conversation, but it is not the one I want to have today), they wanted to know how children learned it.  Indeed, they just wanted to know how children learned, period.  There is more than one explanation for it, one of which is biological.  The idea is that since we humans have the longest childhoods, we are the smartest of all the creatures on earth. (That is way over simplifying the idea on my part, but just watch the video and you’ll see.)

You can read the rest of it HERE.


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