our kids out smart us...

So everyone has heard that each generation is smarter then the previous with technology. I'm already seeing this with my own daughter. she's not even 17months old right now and has been "playing with iPhones and androids for a few months now. the first thing she learned on the phones was how to make siri talk to her. we then migrated to ipads (android seemed to bore her). she QUICKLY learned how to swipe the screens and has even learned how to navigate the apps.( i know its kinda subjective assuming she's chasing the right one for what she wants) 

We ended up take an older iPad that has basically been put away and wiped then added baby apps to it (simple games and such) she seems to target one game and one other app which is basically a kids version of youtube. she has mastered the game and will scroll through the youtube app looking for the video she wants.

This too me makes me think about memory or knowledge being passed on to our kids, not through teaching but genetically. I know she likely learned how to navigate by watching us and by trial and error but it just seems too fluid and quick. 

Is it possible that a baby actually has this innate knowledge from what their parents have done or even their ancestors? why wouldn't, if its possible, they be able to hold onto that knowledge from further back? we see it in animals who instinctively know how to survive and what danger is from a young age.

If I'm right could baby speak really be something more then just gibberish? There is plenty of people ( and videos) of sibling babies having conversations with each other. could it really be a combination or remnants of previous languages that existed before?

I know this is a pretty out there thought (even for me). Thoughts?


  • There is very very primitive evidence for memories or learned behavior being genetic. So far it does not appear to be complex and we have only seen it associated with the fear response. Its way too early to draw any real conclusions or speculate though.

    One thing I've observed is that kids aren't afraid to break electronics and explore. Adults trying to learn a computer have a tendency to second guess themselves and panic when they see a screen they have never seen before. Kids just try everything until it works.
  • i agree we do tend to overthink what we are doing when messing with electronics and pause when something different happens. you can still see that though when a child does it. I'm not convinced 100% that its simply they don't care if it breaks. Since you seem to talk about it like your in the field, is the research based with adult minds or children specifically the ones who don't really speak human yet?
  • edited October 2016
    I actually wrote a theory on this for school predicting two singularity like points, one centered around juvenoia, while the other centers around Peak age as I call it (it is the average age when a human is old enough to function in society as an independent,) it predicted a rise in juvenoia as the disconnect between ages widens you can see the disconnect in Brexit where  old people did the exact opposite of what young people wanted.  But that was a fun little experiment with pride (i am really young) 

    *P.S. although it had nothing to do with inherited knowledge it was the ability to learn from technology when their mind is still flexible giving greater access to more information (the internet is the compilation of all man's knowledge)at an earlier age giving them more time to learn more while their mind is still easy to meld * 

  • Scientists are starting to think that epigenetics plays a role in passing down broad context memories to offspring like @eggit said. You can theoretically pass down methylation patterns in your genes that will affect how they are read by the cells in the body. You won't be able to pass down specific knowledge like how to code a computer, but you could potentially pass down a fear of something like large animals. This potentially could have helped ancient man survive by helping them to avoid things that were dangerous to their parents without having to actually encounter the danger directly.

    In your case @Meanderpaul, maybe you passed something down to your daughter that allowed her to pick up on how electronics work very quickly (i.e. she can find patterns or integrate info a bit better than others her age). Since this info can be passed down so readily, who knows how far back some of it may go.
  • edited October 2016
    EDIT: If you don't care to read everything, the third paragraph (excluding this one) contains the most relevant information to the original post. Starts with "As for passing down knowledge.".

    I've always thought I should weigh in on some brain/mind related topic and this seems like the perfect one. (Some of this will be unreleased to the original post.)

    I've always disagreed with all those "tv scientists" who say "the brain is basically a fancy pattern recognition device". Big whoop. You could say that about any number of things. You could say the brain is basically a super computer, basically a mass storage device (data storage), any number of things. Point is, the way they say it, it's like all we do all day is go around seeing a pattern in things and acting on it. Like, as though I'm writing this response because I saw a pattern of interesting discussion that I wanted to respond to. But that's not it. It's more like, we do things in a similar and somewhat predictable way because we learned to do so. Like, don't jump off a hundred foot cliff, you could die. (On a side note, anyone else see all those (later disappointed looking) weather and news people saying Matthew is a storm that "will kill you if you do not evacuate". Emphasis on the "will". I didn't die. Just saying. Didn't even break a window.)

    As for passing down knowledge. I don't think there's any biological way to pass down "knowledge" or "memory" as there's no system that somehow writes the sequences of neurons and electrons from your brain into your DNA. As for very young people being more adept at learning that others, I think that's mostly to do with a lack of distractions. At that age, they literally do one thing most of the time. Not multitasking, don't have a million things on their minds that they have to take care of later, they're not worried about what's going around them, and a lot of the time children seem to be completely oblivious to their surroundings, until they do notice something and decide to investigate it, then it becomes their only focus.

    Instincts aren't really passed from parent to offspring exclusively. They're somewhat coded into DNA across the species (from what I understand) and so they're more like genes that don't change from one generation to the next. Yes, physically they're passed from parent to offspring. But they're the same as from their parents, and their grandparents, and so on. That is, new instincts don't generally form with a new generation, I am open to the possibility that genetic flukes (DNA isn't perfectly replicated each time) could lead to minor changes in instinct from one generation to the next.

    As far as the "not worried about breaking", I think (being in my 20's) that that's more an "old person thing". Not that you're necessarily old, just that it's more of an uncertainty based thinking method. Sort of the same with any risk taking. Me, I'm more technically knowledgeable than anyone else I've met, online acquaintances being uncertain, so I can say that, the chances of you being able to do something that irreparably (by which I mean very difficult to repair, not actually impossible to repair) damages or affects a computing device, is so very highly unlikely that it isn't worth worrying about. So I just don't worry about it. Same goes for lots of others things. With knowledge comes wisdom. So they say. In this case the knowledge that there's nothing to worry about comes with the wisdom to... I don't know... do things without worry I guess.

    Okay, so that last section was somewhat [read: very] off-topic, and probably could have been omitted, but I felt like saying it just because I don't like to hear that people are going slow to learn things because they're worried about breaking stuff.

    Last thing, I haven't read anything technical or scientific at all about the cause for learning being more difficult after a certain age. Personally, I think it's a lot based on my above comments about focusing on one thing better at that age. That and simply how we begin to think as we learn making learning specific other things more difficult. Like me, I very much think in English. I found this to be a difficulty in learning another language as whenever I would want to say or write something in said other language, I wouldn't think the concept of "where is the store", rather I would think "where is the store" (in English words) and need to think through what each word was in another language. I talk to myself. Not always out loud, like right now, writing this, I am speaking it to myself as I write it (again, not out loud). (I'll admit that the fact that English doesn't have much in the way of conjugations like most other languages (that I would consider learning) do is probably another difficulty.) Perhaps the whole think talking thing is somehow related to my mental condition. Possibly. Making it something that very few others would also have. Don't know. Maybe.

    Opinions on any of that?
  • Wow quite the post. Ok so I'm gonna tackle one thing at a time and I'll probably miss stuff or repeat myself.

    So on what the brain is paragraph:
    I do agree that it is NOT JUST pattern recognition in a nice package. I think there is a lot more happening in the brain then you can simply put one label of what it is. For instance we do use pattern recognition every day but we are also using prior experience.

    Ok so on to the next:
    As for the DNA writing my only issue is that there is plenty of things that can change our DNA which effects the brain and way we process information that I just can't really see how it's only a one way street. I have no really idea what could do it but to say there is no mechanism all to gather is in my opinion a big jump with how little we actually know about how it works and the processes that go on. We can't even interpret our own brains information but it can communicate with every aspect of our body. Perhaps it's a "built in" feature (can remember the bio term) like breathing that goes on without us knowing.

    This kinda contradicts the previous one you made because you say it doesn't have the ability to transfer the information but an instinct is something we learn. Some where along the lines we had a reaction to something that makes us hesitate.

    Yup this one:
    Generally I would agree with you about it being something the elderly are more worried about. When I say break I mean doing a setting or messing up internal anything not the physical nature (although it's a very real thing that happens with babies/kids and even angry adults). Also I'm 26 not old but I feel like it sometimes. I always say to my parents that they should just mess with their electronics to learn it and it truly works the best. Even you hesitate once and a while with a new electronic device but you most likely work through it so fast that it is minimal.

    Way to many point...:
    I think the issue isn't so much with learning but being stubborn and set in their ways. There could also be an issue with committing those new things to long term memories because they are older. It basicly falls back to the every person is unique in the way they learn and how.

    Please by no means take anything I typed as an attack it's just the way I address things and speak. Also your not alone in talking it out in your head first. I do the same only with worse grammar. Once and a while I actually will say it out loud.
  • @Jupiter, not an attack just trying to inform you 
    things are harder to learn when you are older is because you have decreased neuroplasticity which has been proven over and over again 
    to put it simply the brain ages just like any biological machine so as you get older it becomes harder to make a completely new connection and some things are too defined like language it's different when you learn a language later in life than when you are a baby you brain physically is learning differently than when you were a baby. 
  • Fair enough. Everything I say should be taken as "as far as I know", simply on the understanding that I can't say things I don't know. However, that's part of what the forum here is for, discussion and learning from each other. I won't claim to be an expert on brain biology. Part of my confusion about brain stuff I guess comes a bit from thinking of it more like a modern computer system than what it actually is. In reality I suppose it's more that cells rearrange and new neuron pathways form, not so much the way I would tend to think about it where there's lots of pathways already formed and they just change ever so slightly to accommodate "knowledge". Again, not claiming to be an expert. Feel free to correct me on anything.

    As for the instinct thing, I see how that was a little confusing and how it looked like I contradicted myself. I was more referring to animal's instincts that are built in, not things they learn. Like how dogs tend to eat whenever there's food available (why you're not supposed to leave food out all the time for pet dogs) sort of as an instinct to counter the possibility that there won't be food available tomorrow. That's the sort of instinct I feel is a built in genetic behavioral pattern type thing. My pet dogs certainly didn't learn that there won't always be food available on a fairly regular schedule.

    I suppose it is POSSIBLE that something modifies DNA in a strategic intentional manner, I just doubt there's anything that does so with the intent of applying some sort of instinct to the DNA that was "learned" over time by the willl-be-parent.
  • edited October 2016
    First off, I'm not in the industry at all, that was just my observations being around kids.

    Second, It seems like Jupiter hand't heard about the inherited memory research, so here you go. http://www.nature.com/news/fearful-memories-haunt-mouse-descendants-1.14272
    Like I said above, its very new research, and should be taken lightly.

    This is more philosophical than anything, but to expand a bit I feel like adults are much afraid of failure than children are. You hand a kid a Tablet and they just go nuts pressing everything and playing around. You hand an adult one and they ask how to turn it on, you tell them, they ask to make sure "this button?" etc. Its easy to overthink things and become trapped by our preconception of how things work, whereas kids don't have that same preconception, so its easy to just explore.

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