From New Scientist, where else?
As a pioneer in the science of developmental psychology, Kagan has an interesting angle. A life spent investigating how a fertilised egg develops into an adult human being provides him with a rich understanding of the mind and how it differs from that of our closest animal cousins.
Human and chimpanzee infants behave in remarkably similar ways for the first four to six months, Kagan notes. It is only during the second year of life that we begin to diverge profoundly. As the toddler’s frontal lobes expand and the connections between the brain sites increase, the human starts to develop the talents that set our species apart. These include “the ability to speak a symbolic language, infer the thoughts and feelings of others, understand the meaning of a prohibited action, and become conscious of their own feelings, intentions and actions”.
Every mother has watched a child suddenly … It happened for me when my kid, 2 years old, said a complete sentence: Kitty got no hands. Yes, it was true. Kitty got claws, for sure, no hands.
Or else it doesn’t happen. Then begins the round of trips to institutions that help with the developmentally delayed.
And THAT is where humanity matters. Where humanity really matters is when we are called on to do something for those who cannot help themselves.