251. Wonder with Frank Keil

Richard Dawkins has been quoted as saying, “The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable.” Many agree with him and have referred to wonder as the beginning of wisdom, the seed of science, and the basis of men’s desire to understand. When we are little, most of us are filled with wonder and experience it often. However, we tend to lose our sense of wonder as we age into adults. On today’s episode of POTC, Dr. Frank Keil, author of Wonder, talks with Jill about why it’s so important to encourage a sense of wonder in younger generations and reconnect with our own sense of wonder as well. Join us in this episode to break cycles of over-imitation, learn about important research on wonder and well-being, engage in deeper, more interesting conversations, and so much more, today!

Listen and Learn:

  • Jill and Yael discuss the difference between wonder and curiosity
  • Frank expertly defines wonder and provides some insight as to its history
  • The research-backed reasons why we lose our natural sense of wonder over time
  • Practical, evidence-based advice on fostering the continuance of wonder for your little ones
  • Negative consequences of losing your sense of wonder
  • The positive outcomes related to wondering with others
  • Over-imitating – what it is, how it works, and why we continue to do it
  • How wonder lends itself to compassion and understanding 
  • Frank’s favorite findings from his research on wonder
  • Expert-approved strategies on reconnecting with your sense of wonder as an adult



Frank C. Keil is the Dilley Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Cognitive Science at Yale University.  Much of his research involves asking how intuitive explanations and understandings emerge in development and how they function in adults. These topics are linked to broader questions of what concepts and explanations are, how they change with increasing expertise, how people understand the limits to their own knowledge and how they navigate the division of cognitive labor. Dr. Keil received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania , a M.A. in Psychology from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Biology from MIT. He is the author of hundreds of articles and several books including Developmental Psychology: The Growth of Mind and Behavior, and most recently, Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science.

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Episode 251