What is the point of babies? They’re almost entirely dependent on other people for survival, so much so that they appear to be an evolutionary hindrance, rather than a benefit. Alison Gopnik, author of The Philosophical Baby, thinks she may have found the answer. In an interview with Seed magazine, Gopnik explains that “children are like the R&D department of the human species.”
There may be a tradeoff in the human mind between learning something and applying it, according to Gopnik. Adults are better able to apply knowledge, but babies are better suited for learning and imaging.
Watching children play in imaginary worlds, many scientists have assumed that babies are not as intelligent as adults. In fact, “Children have a very good idea of how to distinguish between fantasies and realities,” according to Gopnik. “It’s just they are equally interested in exploring both.”