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Review of "How babies think" by Alison Gopnik

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Introduction

´╗┐Jess karp How babies think- Alison Gopnik ?Most of us see a picture of innocence and helplessness, a clean slate. But in fact what we see in the crib is the greatest mind that has ever existed, the most powerful learning machine.? (Page 1) This book is an account on how babies and toddlers learn throughout childhood. I have decided to review the first three chapters, which cover what people learn about children. Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology. Throughout her book she describes babies as computers and mysterious alien like characters; she has a deep interest into a child?s mind and includes many of her theories and experiments. ?This book won?t tell you how to make babies become smarter or nicer or how to get them to sleep at night.?(page2) ...read more.

Middle

One experiment that caught my eye was one to do with memory. The babies were put into a room where they sat and watched a man tap a box on his head. This resulted in the box lighting up, and the babies were not allowed to repeat this until a week later. The week passed and all the babies were put back into the exact same room, all babies imitated the movement which would turn the light on in the box, this experiment was performed as some psychologist reckon babies have no memory, I now strongly disagree with this. Alison continues throughout her book with the hypothesis that babies are machines; she tells us that children have a very powerful learning mechanism which allows them to revise, reshape and restructure their knowledge. ...read more.

Conclusion

Then an observer who doesn?t know what the babies are looking at records their eye movement. You would then analyse the eye movements and see what one the babies looked at longer. Another method is to get babies sucking on a dummy?s that turn on different videos or audiotapes and determining which tape they will do some work for. Before reading this book I would never have thought a baby could have been so intelligent. This book gives you an insight into a mother?s perspective and how a baby grows and develops. Gopnik writes with a nicely personal touch, often referring to her three children and five siblings uses a clear and very readable prose, squarely aimed at the general reader and sensibly divided into short sections, ideal for anyone burdened by babies or toddlers ...read more.

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