The Primordial Blessing of Abstraction and the Curse of a Compositional Mind

Event time: 
Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Humanities Quadrangle (HQ), 136 See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Human children are arguably the most effective learners on the planet. In five short years, they develop a commonsense understanding of whatever physical, cultural, and social environment they find themselves in, building systems of knowledge that are unique in the living world. How might they do this? In this talk, I look to interdisciplinary studies of infants and young children for possible answers.
Elizabeth Spelke was trained as a perceptual and developmental psychologist by Eleanor J. Gibson and as a cognitive psychologist by Ulric Neisser. Using lab- (and now Zoom-) based behavioral methods, she studies the nature and development of knowledge of objects and their mechanical interactions, of agents and their actions and intentions, of the navigable spatial layout and its structure, of number and arithmetic, and of people and their social engagements and relationships. Finally, she collaborates with academics in diverse fields including animal behavior, systems and cognitive neuroscience, computational cognitive science, linguistics, and economics, in hopes of understanding the surprises that research on young children brings.
This is a hybrid event—in person in the Humanities Quadrangle; also live streamed via Zoom. To join the Zoom webinar please register.
3:30pm, 320 York Street, Room 136

Elizabeth Spelke, Harvard University