How Do Babies Think Without Words?

How Do Babies Think Without Words?  -Babe in Dreamland

So, have you ever wondered how your little bundle of joy can think without knowing any words?

Does the process of thinking even require words and language? Perhaps, thisquestion we should ask first.

So, without further ado, allow me to clear this dilemma once and for all.

Here is what you need to know about what is actually happening in a baby’s mind.

How Do Babies Think Without Words?

While babies are incapable of complex thinking due to still underdeveloped brains, their minds begin to form from the moment they are born. It is not words or a particular language which are associated with these thoughts, but rather visual and emotional sensations. That’s because their brain is highly receptive to environmental stimuli and responds to them.Furthermore, even adults don’t use words while thinking… Although they use words to express and communicate their thoughts, not in the process itself.

Forming First Thoughts

I realise it may come as a surprise – but babies are capable of forming thoughts from the day they are born.

Although it may appear that during their first weeks of life, babies seem to do very little besides sleep, feeding and crying. 

But the truth is, their tiny brains work very hard to process the information perceived by their senses, search for patterns, and categorise and file this new information. 

And the result of this hard work is proto-thoughts. The responses to complex sensory stimuli from the environment the baby is in. Such stimulants can be:

These responses have nothing in common with the conscious logical reasoning of adults. 

These precursors of thoughts are still subconscious and innate at this point. 

It will take them another 3 years to develop self-awareness, consciousness, and reasoning.

And to start storing and retaining memories. 

Despite that, what’s important is that babies don’t need to know words or languages to be able to “think”, process information, respond to their environment, and communicate with their parents. 

I’ll tell you more.

Adults don’t need words to think either.

Because the fact is, when we think, we use our senses, too.  

We use our vision, emotions, logic, memories, and intuition rather than our language and words.  

Still sceptical about this concept?

So, try to answer this question: 

How many times did you struggle to find the words to express what you were experiencing at the time? 

You knew exactly how you felt but simply couldn’t verbalize these thoughts. 

Sounds familiar?

And the answer is:  

That’s because we think through emotions and images and by visualising things rather than linguistically via words.

In fact, not many people use language to think…

When musicians create music, they think using sounds.

Artists think in colours, texture, light and movement. 

Scientists think using numbers and the concepts these numbers represent. 

To put it another way, they don’t need or use words to aid their thinking process! Nevertheless, words help them express their thoughts precisely. Although without knowing words, they are still able to think. 

And the same logic applies to babies.

So that, my friends, is why babies are perfectly okay not knowing words, yet being able to think. Voila.

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Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

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