Cognitive Science Colloquium
Fei Xu
Psychology, Berkeley
Towards a Rational Constructivist Approach to Cognitive Development

The study of cognitive development has often been framed in terms of the nativist/empiricist debate. Here I present a new approach to cognitive development – rational constructivism. I will argue that learners take into account both prior knowledge and biases (learned or unlearned) as well as statistical information in the input; prior knowledge and statistical information are combined in a rational manner (as is often captured in Bayesian models of cognition). Furthermore, there may be a set of domain-general learning mechanisms that give rise to domain-specific knowledge. I will present evidence supporting the idea that early learning is rational, statistical, and inferential, and infants and young children are rational, constructivist learners.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bioscience Research Building 1107