In this essay, “Kiddy Thinks,” Alison Gopnik explains the importance of the cognitive development of children in the first few years of their life. She also attempts to break the traditional view that children, in their early stages, think quite differently than adults. Gopnik uses a logical standard of evaluation to provide information on the different stages children go through when developing important cognitive skills.
She supports her information with a variety of experiments as a researcher, and personal experiences as a parent. Unfortunately, she concludes her essay with political and social issues, which weakens her argument as it drifts away from her purpose. Though it did turn into a political paper, Gopnik is able to use examples that have logical reasoning and evidence, therefore allowing her to create an effective argument.
In summary, Gopnik explains the different stages of growth as she provides evidence from her experiments. She lays those stages out starting from when they are just born until they are at the age of four. She explains the typical behavior, starting from when they can imitate facial expressions at birth, and then proceeding to discovering and differentiating others’ and their own emotions. They go on to learning and perfecting the concept of hiding.
Gopnik was able to experiment with kids in the different age groups and provides the results to back up her theories. Another significant point that was brought up was the comparison of the thought process between babies and scientists. Babies and scientists “think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments. They also change their theories as they accumulate counter-evidence to their predictions” (Gopnik, 237).
One of the prominent weaknesses is the conclusion of Gopnik’s essay. Throughout the whole essay, she uses science and experience to strengthen her argument, but she concludes her essay with the mention of social issues.