In the modern world, more and more attention is paid to the study of the learning process and the development of the most effective educational techniques. This trend becomes especially important with the spread of the concept of machine learning and the search for new non-standard approaches. Cognitive researchers are making more and more surprising discoveries by observing human children and their early learning. The most surprising of these is how quickly children learn to apply knowledge gained from the world around them.
Both TED talks leave the viewer amazed at how underestimated the brain activity of children has been over the years. However, the most surprising was the information provided by Laura Schulz, as it emphasizes how inherent scientific activity is for humans (8:15-8:30). Demonstrating experiments investigating generalization and causal reasoning in two-year-old children, the researcher demonstrated that they do not need special learning techniques; they have them by nature. This aspect is also illustrated by Alison Gopnik in an episode where a four-year-old boy tries 5 hypotheses in 2 minutes to solve a problem (12:05-14:15). It is surprising how quickly children absorb everyday information and turn it into valuable data for shaping their thinking processes and future behavior. Most importantly, these aspects cast doubt on fundamental questions about human nature and about the culture of modern education.
One can often hear that people are essentially no different from animals. It is noteworthy that both researchers talk about the child’s cognition studies in relation to artificial intelligence (Schulz 14:00; Gopnic 8:19). Modern research data demonstrated in TED talks proves that human is a unique creature that is able not only to analyze the world but also to apply observations to transform it. Apparently, cognitive scientists can lay the foundation for rethinking the traditional concept of education in human society and the way people understand the concept of the mind in general.
Gopnik, Alison. “What Do Babies Think?” TED, 2011.
Schulz, Laura. “The Surprisingly Logical Minds of Babies.” TED, 2015.