Skip navigation

Lila Gleitman

Titles by This Editor


An Invitation to Cognitive Science provides a point of entry into the vast realm of cognitive science, offering selected examples of issues and theories from many of its subfields. All of the volumes in the second edition contain substantially revised and as well as entirely new chapters.

Rather than surveying theories and data in the manner characteristic of many introductory textbooks in the field, An Invitation to Cognitive Science employs a unique case study approach, presenting a focused research topic in some depth and relying on suggested readings to convey the breadth of views and results. Each chapter tells a coherent scientific story, whether developing themes and ideas or describing a particular model and exploring its implications.

The volumes are self contained and can be used individually in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from introductory psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, and decision sciences, to social psychology, philosophy of mind, rationality, language, and vision science.

Between the ages of eighteen months and six years, children acquire about eight words each day without specific instruction or correction, simply through the course of natural conversational interactions. This book brings together investigations from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (with an emphasis on linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computer science) to examine how young children acquire the vocabulary of their native tongue with such rapidity, and with virtually no errors along the way. The chapters discuss a number of issues relating to the child's mental representation of objects and events on the one hand, and of the linguistic input on the other; and the learning procedures that can accept such data to build, store, and manipulate the vocabulary of 100,000 words or so that constitute the adult state. Taken together, these essays provide a state-of-the art analysis of one of the most remarkable cognitive achievements of the human infant.


- Part I. The Nature of the Mental Lexicon. Edwin Williams. Beth Levin.

- Part II. Discovering the Word Units. Anne Cutler. Michael H. Kelly and Susanne Martin.

- Part III. Categorizing the World. Susan Carey. Frank C. Keil.

- Part IV. Categories, Words, and Language. Ellen M. Markman. Sandra A. Waxman. Barbara Landau. Paul Bloom.

- Part V. The Case of Verbs. Cynthia Fischer, D. Geoffrey Hall, Susan Rakowitz, and Lila Gleitman. Steven Pinker. Jane Grimshaw.

- Part VI. Procedures for Verb Learning. Michael R. Brent. Mark Steedman.