Celeste Kidd on Why Aren't Babies Little Adults

02 May, 2023

Celeste Kidd on Why Aren't Babies Little Adults

BCNM professor of psychology Celeste Kidd was recently featured on But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids Hosted by Jane Lindholm. The But Why show is led by kids who are able to send in questions and the show's guests find the answers. But Why tackles topics large and small, about nature, words, and even the end of the world.

This week's podcast episode focused on learning more about the development of the human brain with Celeste Kidd, professor of psychology and primary investigator at the Kidd Lab at the University of California Berkeley.

From the episode:

  • Human babies rely on adults for everything. Some babies of other species never even meet their parents and are able to take care of themselves from birth. Human babies rely on adults for many years. Scientists aren’t sure why, but there are theories - educated ideas - about why. One is that humans need big brains to do all of the complex things we do but if our brains were fully-sized when we were born, our heads would be too big for us to get out of our mothers’ bodies. So a lot of our development has to happen after we’re born, leaving us pretty helpless for the early years.
  • We're born with some of our brain power, but our brains keep developing long after we're born, well into our 20s.
  • There are some advantages to that long period of childhood, surrounded by family. It allows for a lot of cultural transmission, for one. That means learning about tools, language, manners and arts. Some of these exist in other species, but human systems are elaborate and take a lot of time to learn.

To listen to the full podcast, Click Here!