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Cognition and Language Development

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What Science Really Tells Us about How to Teach Reading

Early Reading Instruction is a comprehensive analysis of the research evidence from early writing systems to computer models of reading. In this book, Diane McGuinness provides an innovative solution to the "reading war"—the century-old debate over the efficacy of phonics (sound-based) versus whole-word (meaning- based) methods. She has developed a prototype—a set of elements that are critical to the success of a reading method.

Concepts embody our knowledge of the kinds of things there are in the world. Tying our past experiences to our present interactions with the environment, they enable us to recognize and understand new objects and events. Concepts are also relevant to understanding domains such as social situations, personality types, and even artistic styles. Yet like other phenomenologically simple cognitive processes such as walking or understanding speech, concept formation and use are maddeningly complex.

Edited by Raymond D. Kent

A massive reference work on the scale of MITECS (The MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Sciences), The MIT Encyclopedia of Communication Disorders will become the standard reference in this field for both research and clinical use. It offers almost 200 detailed entries, covering the entire range of communication and speech disorders in children and adults, from basic science to clinical diagnosis.

Evolution, Connectionism, and Moral Cognition

In Natural Ethical Facts William Casebeer argues that we can articulate a fully naturalized ethical theory using concepts from evolutionary biology and cognitive science, and that we can study moral cognition just as we study other forms of cognition. His goal is to show that we have "softly fixed" human natures, that these natures are evolved, and that our lives go well or badly depending on how we satisfy the functional demands of these natures. Natural Ethical Facts is a comprehensive examination of what a plausible moral science would look like.

Despite decades of scientific research, the core issues of child development remain too complex to be explained by traditional verbal theories. These issues include structure and transition, representation and processing, innate and experiential determinants of development, stages of development, the purpose and end of development, and the relation between knowledge and learning.

These eighteen original essays pay tribute to Morris Halle, Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. Halle's impact on the study of language has been enormous; he and his students represent a continuous and coherent tradition which is unique in modern linguistics. Although they range from poetry to phonetics, the contributions share the common method of formal phonological analysis which reflects Halle's own work. With the exception of Roman Jakobson, his teacher, all of the contributors are Morris Halle's PhD students.

Foundations of Social Cognition

Social interaction requires social cognition—the ability to perceive, interpret, and explain the actions of others. This ability fundamentally relies on the concepts of intention and intentionality. For example, people distinguish sharply between intentional and unintentional behavior; identify the intentions underlying others' behavior; explain completed actions with reference to intentions, beliefs, and desires; and evaluate the social worth of actions using the concepts of intentionality and responsibility.

Concept Structuring Systems

In this two-volume set Leonard Talmy defines the field of cognitive semantics. He approaches the question of how language organizes conceptual material both at a general level and by analyzing a crucial set of particular conceptual domains: space and time, motion and location, causation and force interaction, and attention and viewpoint. Talmy maintains that these are among the most fundamental parameters by which language structures conception.

Edited by Brian Scholl

One of the most important and controversial topics in the field of visual attention is the nature of the units of attentional selection. Traditional models have characterized attention in spatial terms, as a "spotlight" that moves around the visual field, applying processing resources to whatever falls within that spatial region. Recent models of attention, in contrast, suggest that in some cases the underlying units of selection are discrete visual objects and that attention may be limited by the number of objects that can be simultaneously selected.

How do children learn that the word "dog" refers not to all four-legged animals, and not just to Ralph, but to all members of a particular species? How do they learn the meanings of verbs like "think," adjectives like "good," and words for abstract entities such as "mortgage" and "story"? The acquisition of word meaning is one of the fundamental issues in the study of mind.

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