Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday, Nov 5: Cognitive Science Colloquium

Subject : Cognitive Science Colloquium

When : Thursday, November 05, 2009 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Where : Bioscience Research Building : 1103

Event Type(s) : Colloquium

Judy DeLoache (Psychology, Virginia)

Title: Becoming Symbol-Minded

Abstract: Every society has a wealth of symbols and symbol systems that support cognition and communication, and all children must master a variety of symbolic artifacts to participate fully in their society. My research shows that in the course of learning to use various symbolic representations—including pictures, models, and replica objects—infants and young children experience a surprising amount of difficulty. They often fail to note the distinction between symbols and their referents, behaving toward symbolic artifacts as if they were what they stand for. The extended process of becoming symbol-minded begins in the first year of life, as infants start to learn about the nature of pictures: Through experience, they discover both what pictures are and what they are not. Slightly older children have substantial difficulty understanding and using scale models, but rapidly come to appreciate the nature and use of this type of symbol. At the same time, very young children make dramatic errors in which they try to interact with a miniature representational artifact as if it were its larger counterpart. Mastery of these different types of symbolic objects involves developmental progress in multiple domains.

Thursday of next week: discussion of two papers by Bernhard Hommel (Psychology, Leiden), which are accessible here:

For more information, contact:

Peter M. Carruthers

+1 301 405 5705

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