Fleur picked up something off the floor, popped it in her mouth, stood up, and met my gaze. She spun around and took off. She knew I was coming for it without me having to say it.
She is about a year from having developed the Theory of Mind. With it, she is able to know what I am thinking about the situation. In the classic situation, a researcher shows putting something in a box. Another moves it while the first is not present. Then the child asked where the first thinks it is located.
The taking off means she knows something of what I am thinking. She just would think I know what she knows.
I’ve written before about singing to Fleur to get her attention and how music is good for the brain. If this fMRI data on human brains compared to macaque monkey ones holds up, then there might be a developmental difference in brains that allows us to be more attuned to musical tones.
The researchers wondered what kind of auditory experience our ancestors had that caused this difference. The same structure also responds to speech, which might explain some of our qualities of speech. Music and talking are intertwined. So, child development being responsive to music makes sense in that they are wired to learn and we adults are doing so with both music and speech.
Is there anything that tells us there’s a causal link? That our media use behavior is actually altering our cognition and underlying neurological function or neurobiological processes? The answer is we have no idea. There’s no data.
The article talks about what data we have, the limitations, why the limitations matter, and what would fix it. Science is hard. Medicine and parents are in a tricky place as they have to make recommendations with imperfect data. The news is sensationalist.
Galahad wants to discount all science on this, of course. He might be an addict. (Take his phone away from him and he goes through the typical behaviors of an addict.) The non-causal link does say there is something going on with smartphones and kids, so limiting usage probably leads to better outcomes. Enough so, that it is worth at least trying.