Humans have been exploring the question of what it means to be human for thousands of years.
We can find clues in history books, religious passages and precious moments of self-reflection. But according to Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl, co-director at the University of Washington Institute for learning and Brain Sciences, one can gain plenty of insight just from looking at a baby.
Kuhl describes babies as "computational geniuses." They're constantly processing the most frequent things happening around them in their world. Keeping it all in mind, they also have a drive to imitate what they observe older humans doing so they can be like us.
She explains that the infant brain is constantly coding and absorbing his or her surroundings. "Our brains come ready to learn but they're not completely formed," she explains.
In this video, she urges adults to hold on tight to their babies' childlike wonder.
She adds, “We can already see the decline in the ability to learn like that at seven.”
Children act as little mirrors into our past selves — ways in which we can remember how we saw the world and marvel at how far we've come through adolescence and adulthood.
"We all had a childhood," Kuhl points out. "And it indelibly affected who we are today."