Can we make ourselves smarter by extending childhood? Probably

If we can isolate the manner by which the brain massively explodes in power and knowledge, or if we can slow down our developmental processes, then we should be able to become even smarter.

One of the major differences between us and animals is the difference in time spent in childhood. The question of whether it is responsible for the difference itself, or is a byproduct of the difference in some other process is currently unknown. It certainly could be the case that there is a chemical process in our brain that keeps us children for a long time.

If there is a chemical process, it is also probably the case that we can isolate and manipulate it. This would, hopefully, have the effect of extending the time the brain has to learn about the world and gather, thus making us correspondingly more intelligent.

It would probably mean more time where the baby is helpless and must be cared intensively for. But, especially if our lifetimes become significantly longer (an extra 20 or 30 years, as they have in the past 200 years), it might be well worth having an ‘infant’ for an extra year or two if it means better outcomes for the individual in the long run..

This is classic Brave New World stuff, but the question is there. Would you submit your child to this sort of treatment if you knew that they could have better outcomes in the long run? Despite the risks? What if the treatment increased the probability of suicide later in life (or had some other negative side effect)?

Weigh in below! 😀

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