Thu19 Kingsley Speaker Series with Alison Gopnik
Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge scientific research into how children learn, Gopnik shows that although caring for children is profoundly important, it is not a matter of shaping them to turn out a particular way. Children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other. The variability and flexibility of childhood lets them innovate, create, and survive in an unpredictable world. “Parenting” won’t make children learn—but caring parents let children learn by creating a secure, loving environment.
Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from Oxford University. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development and was the first to argue that children’s minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions.
She is the author or coauthor of over 100 journal articles and several books including Words, Thoughts and Theories, and the bestselling and critically acclaimed popular books The Scientist in the Crib, and The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Love, Truth and the Meaning of Life. Her latest book, The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children, was released in August 2016. She writes the “Mind and Matter” science column for the Wall Street Journal, and has also written widely about cognitive science and psychology for Science, The New York Times, Scientific American, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, New Scientist and Slate, among others.