Actually my baby is more than just theoretical — it’s gestating. I’m in my 11th week (just ending my first trimester) and I’m starting this blog because I realize that as I acquire more and more information about becoming a mom, my perspective is completely skewed by who I am as a cognitive scientist.
In my profession, we’re obsessed with knowledge and the processes associated with knowledge — thinking, reasoning, remembering (as well as the lack of these responses). My own research is primarily in how people learn abstract concepts (such as patterns, structure, math, scientific theory) in concrete ways… and how that knowledge affects the way they perceive the world. In fact, my research has even ventured into the way children learn and transfer concrete and abstract knowledge. According to my job description (I’m an assistant professor in cognitive development), I’m supposed to be some kind of expert in how children think.
Up until now, it was okay being an expert in the abstract. Knowing the research, knowing lots of studies, knowing theoretical positions has been enough. But as I emerge out of a period of morning sickness (yay!), the concrete reality is coming more into sharp focus: (my husband and) I are having a BABY! A nascent human being! And now the abstract rubber is hitting the proverbial road.
The prospect of motherhood is simultaneously forcing me re-examine my assumptions about children (and child-rearing) as well as my fundamental assumptions about knowledge. Is knowledge going to help me be a better mom? I’m not at all sure. But it should make for some (hopefully) thought-provoking blogs. So here goes this blog…