We All Used to Be Geniuses


ThomasLife via Flickr

To adults learning a second language, it hardly seems fair: As they stumble their way through conjugation drills, fret over grammar textbooks, and fill in worksheets on constructing subordinate clauses, their children sop up the language while finger painting at preschool. Within months, correct syntax pours itself out of the tykes’ mouths, involving no apparent mental exertion on their part.

In her 2010 TED talk, researcher Patricia Kuhl described children as language-learning “geniuses.” In contrast, people who start learning a language in adulthood rarely reach the summit of native-like proficiency, even after decades of strenuous effort. An enduring scientific mystery is why adults

Citiți o mostră, înregistrați-vă pentru a citi în continuare.

Mai multe de la Nautilus

Nautilus21 min cititePhysics
Five Scientists on the Heroes Who Changed Their Lives: Meet the inspiring people—none named Einstein—who helped these scientists find their calling.
The Man Who Loved PhysicsBy Alan Lightman Several years ago, I attended a Buddhist retreat in which I was introduced to the idea of the “retinue,” a constellation of influential and supportive people whom one imagines in an enveloping cloud as one me
Nautilus5 min cititePsychology
The Problem With A New Study On Mentorship In Science
The increasing visibility of women in leadership roles is one of the few success stories in the struggle for equality in science. But a new study, which connects how often scientists’ later publications get cited with the gender of their early coauth
Nautilus11 min cititeMedical
A Model for a Just COVID-19 Vaccination Program: The pandemic exposed racial injustice in healthcare. Vaccine distribution must not.
Scientists have now produced apparently effective vaccines at sufficient scale to vaccinate most vulnerable populations in the United States in the next few months, and the U.S. population more broadly in the next year. How can the distribution prote