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Learning from Babies

In this week’s NY Times, there was a great profile on a Elizabeth S. Spelke, a cognitive psychologist.  Spelke’s work focuses on understanding how babies store knowledge and what they know about the world.  She mentions in the video that studying babies allows you to see how the mind works without the impacts of normal life swaying our decisions.

Whenever I give the MBTI test to people, I often preface it by saying, when you are not sure about an answer think back to your childhood and imagine what your natural preferences are.  After reading this piece, it strikes me that maybe we should study behavior and personality type in babies.  When do their personalities emerge?  What are babies’ perceiving functions like? Are some babies natural extroverts and others introverts?  I know from my experience with children, that you can definitely see certain preferences emerge early.  For all the parents and caregivers out there: When do you think children form their preferences? Have you seen it evolve through the years?

I have a feeling there is a lot of unchartered territory here.  What do you think? Is this an area of research and innovation that we should explore? What kinds of breakthroughs would we hope for?  Could we learn from babies to understand how to build artificially intelligent agents that learn the same way?

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