Are Babies Smarter Than Adults

USA TODAY, December 1999 | Go to article overview

Are Babies Smarter Than Adults


A baby in the crib just looks like a soft, downy, innocent creature without an agenda. Actually, it has the greatest mind in the universe in the process of solving major philosophical questions with a brain that is smarter, faster, and busier than any adult's, maintain three developmental scientists whose insights from the combined fields of psychology and neurology have generated a quantum leap in understanding how a child's mind grows. Alison Gopnik, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Andrew Meltzoff, a pioneer in infant psychology, and Patricia K. Kuhl, an authority on language development, both from the University of Washington, Seattle, are co-authors of The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains and How Children Learn, which emphasizes that what society does for preschoolers will affect not only the lives of those youngsters, but the future of the world as well.

"It is remarkable how much little children know and how much they learn in a short time," indicates Gopnik. "If you combine the psychological and neurological evidence, it is hard to avoid concluding that babies are just plain smarter than we are, at least if being smart means being able to learn something new.

Before preschoolers enter kindergarten, their brains are more active and more flexible, with more connections per brain cell, than those of adult human beings, the researchers have discovered. By age three, the child's brain is actually twice as active as an adult's. It has approximately 15,000 synapses or connections per neuron, many more than in the adult brain.

Gopnik points out that, contrary to traditional beliefs, toddlers think in a logical manner, arriving at abstract principles early and quickly. "They think, draw conclusions, make predictions, look for explanations, and even do experiments." In fact, scientists are successful precisely because they emulate what children do naturally.

"Our research shows that the attention of caring, nurturing grown-ups is extremely important for the learning of babies from birth. But we are doing nothing as a society to ensure that children get that kind of attention," Gopnik states. Nevertheless, she and her colleagues do not recommend new educational schemes for preschoolers, such as flash cards and Mozart tapes, noting that there is no evidence any environment can be artificially created to make people brighter or better.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are Babies Smarter Than Adults
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.