Spend any amount of time with young children, and there’s a good chance of finding yourself on the receiving end of a barrage of questions. How do clocks work? Where do fish go in winter? Why isn’t the oldest person in the world also the tallest person in the world? And on and on. But it makes sense; children are new here, relatively speaking, and are constantly trying to figure out their big, beautiful, confusing world. But where does that sense of wonder go when people become adults?
In his book Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science, psychology professor Frank C. Keil examines the inner workings of children’s minds and how people can regain and retain a sense of wonder and discovery. Keil writes that children are naturally curious young scientists with a strong desire to learn. But over time, that sense of wonder can become stifled, and adults gradually lose interest in thinking about the world scientifically. Keil argues that when we stop questioning how things work — and why — we can become more vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation.
In the 131st episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, researcher Halli Benasutti joins Keil to discuss ways to stay curious and exercise our minds to engage with the world like a scientist.