Alison Gopnik — American Psychologist born on June 16, 1955,

Alison Gopnik is an American professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She is known for her work in the areas of cognitive and language development, specializing in the effect of language on thought, the development of a theory of mind, and causal learning. Her writing on psychology and cognitive science has appeared in Science, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, New Scientist, Slate and others. Her body of work also includes four books and over 100 journal articles. She has frequently appeared on TV and radio including The Charlie Rose Show and The Colbert Report. Slate writes of Gopnik, "One of the most prominent researchers in the field, Gopnik is also one of the finest writers, with a special gift for relating scientific research to the questions that parents and others most want answered. This is where to go if you want to get into the head of a baby." Gopnik is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, sharing the Mind & Matter column with Robert Sapolsky on alternating Saturdays... (wikipedia)

The youngest children have a great capacity for empathy and altruism. There's a recent study that shows even 14-month-olds will climb across a bunch of cushions and go across a room to give you a pen if you drop one.
Young children seem to be learning who to share this toy with and figure out how it works, while adolescents seem to be exploring some very deep and profound questions: 'How should this society work? How should relationships among people work?' The exploration is: 'Who am I, what am I doing?'
What we want in students is creativity and a willingness to fail. I always say to students, 'If you've never at some point stayed up all night talking to your new boyfriend about the meaning of life instead of preparing for the test, then you're not really an intellectual.'
If parents are the fixed stars in the child's universe, the vaguely understood, distant but constant celestial spheres, siblings are the dazzling, sometimes scorching comets whizzing nearby.
If you just casually look at a baby, it doesn't look like there's very much going on there, but they know more and learn more than we would ever have thought. Every single minute is incredibly full of thought and novelty. It's easy as adults to take for granted everything it took to arrive at the state where we are.

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