Monday, September 23, 2013

Weird neuropsychology

Alison Gopnik is a psychologist and the author of an acclaimed book, The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us about Truth, Love & the Meaning of Life (plus a few other books on how babies think). Two years ago she also gave a TED talk dramatizing some of her own findings and those of fellow child psychologists. In much of the talk, she explains (with some striking examples) how babies and small children are much cleverer that they are usually given credit for, to the point of engaging in some protoscientific thinking (with a penchant for hypothesis testing, etc.). At some point, though, she makes an even bolder claim. She says babies and children are, in fact, even more conscious than adults. And she offers a simple neuroscientific explanation for this counterintuitive juvenile advantage.