Susan Carey

Susan Carey is the Henry A. Morss Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is the first woman to receive the 2009 David E. Rumelhart Prize, given annually since 2001 for significant contributions to the theoretical foundation of human cognition.

  • Conceptual Change In Childhood

    Conceptual Change In Childhood

    Susan Carey

    Are children fundamentally different kinds of thinkers than adults? Or are the cognitive differences between young children and adults merely a matter of accumulation of knowledge? In this book, Susan Carey develops an alternative to these two ways of thinking about childhood cognition, putting forth the idea of conceptual change and its relation to the development of knowledge systems. Conceptual Change in Childhood is a case study of children's acquisition of biological knowledge between ages 4-10. Drawing on evidence from a variety of sources, Carey analyzes the ways that knowledge is restructured during this development, comparing them to the ways that knowledge is restructured by an adult learner, and to the ways that conceptual frameworks have shifted in the history of science.

    • Hardcover $17.50 £13.99
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Contributor

  • The Conceptual Mind

    The Conceptual Mind

    New Directions in the Study of Concepts

    Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence

    New essays by leading philosophers and cognitive scientists that present recent findings and theoretical developments in the study of concepts.

    The study of concepts has advanced dramatically in recent years, with exciting new findings and theoretical developments. Core concepts have been investigated in greater depth and new lines of inquiry have blossomed, with researchers from an ever broader range of disciplines making important contributions. In this volume, leading philosophers and cognitive scientists offer original essays that present the state-of-the-art in the study of concepts. These essays, all commissioned for this book, do not merely present the usual surveys and overviews; rather, they offer the latest work on concepts by a diverse group of theorists as well as discussions of the ideas that should guide research over the next decade. The book is an essential companion volume to the earlier Concepts: Core Readings, the definitive source for classic texts on the nature of concepts.

    The essays cover concepts as they relate to animal cognition, the brain, evolution, perception, and language, concepts across cultures, concept acquisition and conceptual change, concepts and normativity, concepts in context, and conceptual individuation. The contributors include such prominent scholars as Susan Carey, Nicola Clayton, Jerry Fodor, Douglas Medin, Joshua Tenenbaum, and Anna Wierzbicka.

    Contributors Aurore Avarguès-Weber, Eef Ameel, Megan Bang, H. Clark Barrett, Pascal Boyer, Elisabeth Camp, Susan Carey, Daniel Casasanto, Nicola S. Clayton, Dorothy L. Cheney, Vyvyan Evans, Jerry A. Fodor, Silvia Gennari, Tobias Gerstenberg, Martin Giurfa, Noah D. Goodman, J. Kiley Hamlin, James A. Hampton, Mutsumi Imai, Charles W. Kalish, Frank Keil, Jonathan Kominsky, Stephen Laurence, Gary Lupyan, Edouard Machery, Bradford Z. Mahon, Asifa Majid, Barbara C. Malt, Eric Margolis, Douglas Medin, Nancy J. Nersessian, bethany ojalehto, Anna Papafragou, Joshua M. Plotnik, Noburo Saji, Robert M. Seyfarth, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Sandra Waxman, Daniel A. Weiskopf, Anna Wierzbicka

    • Hardcover $65.00 £55.00
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  • Learnability and Cognition, New Edition

    Learnability and Cognition, New Edition

    The Acquisition of Argument Structure

    Steven Pinker

    A classic book about language acquisition and conceptual structure, with a new preface by the author, "The Secret Life of Verbs."

    Before Steven Pinker wrote bestsellers on language and human nature, he wrote several technical monographs on language acquisition that have become classics in cognitive science. Learnability and Cognition, first published in 1989, brought together two big topics: how do children learn their mother tongue, and how does the mind represent basic categories of meaning such as space, time, causality, agency, and goals? The stage for this synthesis was set by the fact that when children learn a language, they come to make surprisingly subtle distinctions: pour water into the glass and fill the glass with water sound natural, but pour the glass with water and fill water into the glass sound odd. How can this happen, given that children are not reliably corrected for uttering odd sentences, and they don't just parrot back the correct ones they hear from their parents? Pinker resolves this paradox with a theory of how children acquire the meaning and uses of verbs, and explores that theory's implications for language, thought, and the relationship between them.

    As Pinker writes in a new preface, "The Secret Life of Verbs," the phenomena and ideas he explored in this book inspired his 2007 bestseller The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. These technical discussions, he notes, provide insight not just into language acquisition but into literary metaphor, scientific understanding, political discourse, and even the conceptions of sexuality that go into obscenity.

    • Paperback $45.00 £38.00
  • Approaches to Studying World-Situated Language Use

    Approaches to Studying World-Situated Language Use

    Bridging the Language-as-Product and Language-as-Action Traditions

    John C. Trueswell and Michael K. Tanenhaus

    Recent approaches to language processing have focused either on individual cognitive processes in producing and understanding language or on social cognitive factors in interactive conversation. Although the cognitive and social approaches to language processing would seem to have little theoretical or methodological common ground, the goal of this book is to encourage the merging of these two traditions. The contributors to this volume hope to demonstrate that attention to both cognitive and social approaches is important for understanding how language is processed in natural settings.The book opens with four review/position papers; these are followed by shorter reports of experimental findings—"a snapshot of current work that begins to bridge the product and action traditions." These treat linguistic processing issues in conversational settings, the interactions of language and nonlinguistic information from visual scenes, product approaches to issues traditionally discussed in the action tradition, and Gricean phenomena.

    • Hardcover $18.75 £14.99
    • Paperback $8.75 £6.99
  • The Algebraic Mind

    The Algebraic Mind

    Integrating Connectionism and Cognitive Science

    Gary F. Marcus

    In The Algebraic Mind, Gary Marcus attempts to integrate two theories about how the mind works, one that says that the mind is a computer-like manipulator of symbols, and another that says that the mind is a large network of neurons working together in parallel. Resisting the conventional wisdom that says that if the mind is a large neural network it cannot simultaneously be a manipulator of symbols, Marcus outlines a variety of ways in which neural systems could be organized so as to manipulate symbols, and he shows why such systems are more likely to provide an adequate substrate for language and cognition than neural systems that are inconsistent with the manipulation of symbols. Concluding with a discussion of how a neurally realized system of symbol-manipulation could have evolved and how such a system could unfold developmentally within the womb, Marcus helps to set the future agenda of cognitive neuroscience.

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  • Making Space

    Making Space

    The Development of Spatial Representation and Reasoning

    Nora S. Newcombe and Janellen Huttenlocher

    Spatial competence is a central aspect of human adaptation. To understand human cognitive functioning, we must understand how people code the locations of things, how they navigate in the world, and how they represent and mentally manipulate spatial information. Until recently three approaches have dominated thinking about spatial development. Followers of Piaget claim that infants are born without knowledge of space or a conception of permanent objects that occupy space. They develop such knowledge through experience and manipulation of their environment. Nativists suggest that the essential aspects of spatial understanding are innate and that biological maturation of specific brain areas can account for whatever aspects of spatial development are not accounted for at birth. The Vygotskan approach emphasizes the cultural transmission of spatial skills.

    Nora Newcombe and Janellen Huttenlocher argue for an interactionist approach to spatial development that incorporates and integrates essential insights of the classic three approaches. They show how biological preparedness interacts with the spatial environment that infants encounter after birth to create spatial development and mature spatial competence. Topics covered include spatial coding during infancy and childhood; the early origins of coding distance in continuous space, of coding location with respect to distal external landmarks, and of hierarchical combination of information; the mental processes that operate on stored spatial information; spatial information as encoded in models and maps; and spatial information as encoded in language. In conclusion, the authors discuss their account of spatial development in relation to various approaches to cognitive development in other domains, including quantitative development, theory of mind, and language acquisition.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
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  • How Children Learn the Meanings of Words

    How Children Learn the Meanings of Words

    Paul Bloom

    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.

    According to Paul Bloom, children learn words through sophisticated cognitive abilities that exist for other purposes. These include the ability to infer others' intentions, the ability to acquire concepts, an appreciation of syntactic structure, and certain general learning and memory abilities. Although other researchers have associated word learning with some of these capacities, Bloom is the first to show how a complete explanation requires all of them. The acquisition of even simple nouns requires rich conceptual, social, and linguistic capacities interacting in complex ways.

    This book requires no background in psychology or linguistics and is written in a clear, engaging style. Topics include the effects of language on spatial reasoning, the origin of essentialist beliefs, and the young child's understanding of representational art. The book should appeal to general readers interested in language and cognition as well as to researchers in the field.

    • Hardcover $60.00 £50.00
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  • Language Creation and Language Change

    Language Creation and Language Change

    Creolization, Diachrony, and Development

    Michel DeGraff

    Research on creolization, language change, and language acquisition has been converging toward a triangulation of the constraints along which grammatical systems develop within individual speakers—and (viewed externally) across generations of speakers. The originality of this volume is in its comparison of various sorts of language development from a number of linguistic-theoretic and empirical perspectives, using data from both speech and gestural modalities and from a diversity of acquisition environments. In turn, this comparison yields fresh insights on the mental bases of language creation. The book is organized into five parts: creolization and acquisition; acquisition under exceptional circumstances; language processing and syntactic change; parameter setting in acquisition and through creolization and language change; and a concluding part integrating the contributors' observations and proposals into a series of commentaries on the state of the art in our understanding of language development, its role in creolization and diachrony, and implications for linguistic theory.

    Contributors Dany Adone, Derek Bickerton, Adrienne Bruyn, Marie Coppola, Michel DeGraff, Viviane Déprez, Alison Henry, Judy Kegl, David Lightfoot, John S. Lumsden, Salikoko S. Mufwene, Pieter Muysken, Elissa L. Newport, Luigi Rizzi, Ian Roberts, Ann Senghas, Rex A. Sprouse, Denise Tangney, Anne Vainikka, Barbara S. Vance, Maaike Verrips

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  • Systems That Learn, Second Edition

    Systems That Learn, Second Edition

    An Introduction to Learning Theory

    Sanjay Jain, Daniel N. Osherson, James S. Royer, and Arun Sharma

    Formal learning theory is one of several mathematical approaches to the study of intelligent adaptation to the environment. The analysis developed in this book is based on a number theoretical approach to learning and uses the tools of recursive-function theory to understand how learners come to an accurate view of reality. This revised and expanded edition of a successful text provides a comprehensive, self-contained introduction to the concepts and techniques of the theory. Exercises throughout the text provide experience in the use of computational arguments to prove facts about learning.

    • Hardcover $11.75 £9.99
  • Words, Thoughts, and Theories

    Words, Thoughts, and Theories

    Alison Gopnik and Andrew N. Meltzoff

    Words, Thoughts, and Theories articulates and defends the "theory theory" of cognitive and semantic development, the idea that infants and young children, like scientists, learn about the world by forming and revising theories, a view of the origins of knowledge and meaning that has broad implications for cognitive science.

    Gopnik and Meltzoff interweave philosophical arguments and empirical data from their own and other's research. Both the philosophy and the psychology, the arguments and the data, address the same fundamental epistemological question: How do we come to understand the world around us?

    Recently, the theory theory has led to much interesting research. However, this is the first book to look at the theory in extensive detail and to systematically contrast it with other theories. It is also the first to apply the theory to infancy and early childhood, to use the theory to provide a framework for understanding semantic development, and to demonstrate that language acquisition influences theory change in children.The authors show that children just beginning to talk are engaged in profound restructurings of several domains of knowledge. These restructurings are similar to theory changes in science, and they influence children's early semantic development, since children's cognitive concerns shape and motivate their use of very early words. But, in addition, children pay attention to the language they hear around them and this too reshapes their cognition, and causes them to reorganize their theories.

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  • Theory and Evidence

    Theory and Evidence

    The Development of Scientific Reasoning

    Barbara Koslowski

    In Theory and Evidence Barbara Koslowski brings into sharp focus the ways in which the standard literature both distorts and underestimates the reasoning abilities of ordinary people. She provides the basis for a new research program on a more complete characterization of scientific reasoning, problem solving, and causality. Long acknowledged for her empirical work in the field of cognitive development, Koslowski boldy criticizes many of the currently classic studies and musters a compelling set of arguments, backed by an exhaustive set of experiments carried out during the last decade.

    Theory and Evidence describes research that looks at the beliefs that people hold about the type of evidence that counts in scientific reasoning and also examines how those beliefs change with age. The primary focus is on the strategies that underlie actual scientific practice: two general sorts of research are reported, one on hypothesis testing and the other on how people deal with evidence that disconfirms a given explanation—the process of hypothesis revision.

    Koslowski argues that when scientific reasoning is operationally defined so that correct performance consists of focusing on covariation and ignoring considerations of theory or mechanisms, then subjects are often treated as engaging in flawed reasoning when in fact their reasoning is scientifically legitimate. Neither relying on covariation alone nor relying on theory alone constitutes a formula for success.

    A Bradford Book.

    Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change series

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  • Race in the Making

    Race in the Making

    Cognition, Culture, and the Child's Construction of Human Kinds

    Lawrence A. Hirschfeld

    Race in the Making provides a new understanding of how people conceptualize social categories and shows why this knowledge is so readily recruited to create and maintain systems of unequal power.

    Hirschfeld argues that knowledge of race is not derived from observations of physical difference nor does it develop in the same way as knowledge of other social categories. Instead, his central claim is that racial thinking is the product of a special-purpose cognitive competence for understanding and representing human kinds. The book also challenges the conventional wisdom that race is purely a social construction by demonstrating that a common set of abstract principles underlies all systems of racial thinking, whatever other historical and cultural specificities may be associated with them.

    Starting from the commonplace observation that race is a category of both power and the mind, Race in the Making directly tackles this issue. Through a sustained exploration of continuity and change in the child's notion of race and across historical variations in the race concept, Hirschfeld shows that a singular commonsense theory about human kinds constrains the way racial thinking changes, whether in historical time or during childhood.

    After surveying the literature on the development of a cultural psychology of race, Hirschfeld presents original studies that examine children's (and occasionally adults') representations of race. He sketches how a jointly cultural and psychological approach to race might proceed, showing how this approach yields new insights into the emergence and elaboration of racial thinking.

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  • Speech

    Speech

    A Special Code

    Alvin M. Liberman

    Alvin Liberman and his colleagues at the Haskins Laboratory in New Haven created the techniques, the methods, and the insights appropriate to the study of speech perception. This volume brings together a carefully edited collecton of twenty-three of their most important research articles, along with an introduction by Liberman that charts the progress of the research—the errors as well as the hits—over the past five decades. Liberman has been the main analytic and synthesizing scientist in the development of a field that must hold a fascination for those interested, most generally, in the place of speech in the biological scheme of things. The more specific implications cover a broad range: at the one extreme, the problems associated with the machine production and recognition of speech; at the other, our understanding of how children learn to read its alphabetic transcriptions, and why some can't.

    Major Sections: On the Spectrogram as a Visible Display of Speech. Finding the Cues. Categorical Perception. An Early Attempt to Put It All Together. A Mid-Course Correction. The Revised Motor Theory. Some Properties of the Phonetic Module. More about the Function and Properties of the Phonetic Module. Auditory vs. Phonetic Modes. Reading/Writing Are Hard Just Because Speaking/Listening Are Easy. Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change series

    • Hardcover $75.00 £62.00
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  • An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Second Edition, Volume 3

    An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Second Edition, Volume 3

    Thinking

    Edward E. Smith and Daniel N. Osherson

    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.

    • Hardcover $92.50 £75.00
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  • Mindblindness

    Mindblindness

    An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind

    Simon Baron-Cohen

    In Mindblindness, Simon Baron-Cohen presents a model of the evolution and development of "mindreading." He argues that we mindread all the time, effortlessly, automatically, and mostly unconsciously. It is the natural way in which we interpret, predict, and participate in social behavior and communication. We ascribe mental states to people: states such as thoughts, desires, knowledge, and intentions.

    Building on many years of research, Baron-Cohen concludes that children with autism, suffer from "mindblindness" as a result of a selective impairment in mindreading. For these children, the world is essentially devoid of mental things.

    Baron-Cohen develops a theory that draws on data from comparative psychology, from developmental, and from neuropsychology. He argues that specific neurocognitive mechanisms have evolved that allow us to mindread, to make sense of actions, to interpret gazes as meaningful, and to decode "the language of the eyes."

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
    • Paperback $34.95 £28.00
  • Beyond Modularity

    Beyond Modularity

    A Developmental Perspective on Cognitive Science

    Annette Karmiloff-Smith

    Taking a stand midway between Piaget's constructivism and Fodor's nativism, Annette Karmiloff-Smith offers an exciting new theory of developmental change that embraces both approaches. She shows how each can enrich the other and how both are necessary to a fundamental theory of human cognition.

    Karmiloff-Smith shifts the focus from what cognitive science can offer the study of development to what a developmental perspective can offer cognitive science. In Beyond Modularity she treats cognitive development as a serious theoretical tool, presenting a coherent portrait of the flexibility and creativity of the human mind as it develops from infancy to middle childhood.

    Language, physics, mathematics, commonsense psychology, drawing, and writing are explored in terms of the relationship between the innate capacities of the human mind and subsequent representational change which allows for such flexibility and creativity. Karmiloff-Smith also takes up the issue of the extent to which development involves domain-specific versus domain-general processes. She concludes with discussions of nativism and domain specificity in relation to Piagetian theory and connectionism, and shows how a developmental perspective can pinpoint what is missing from connectionist models of the mind.

    • Hardcover $13.75 £10.99
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  • An Odyssey in Learning and Perception

    An Odyssey in Learning and Perception

    Eleanor J. Gibson

    An Odyssey in Learning and Perception documents a fifty-year intellectual expedition in the areas of learning and perception—always with an eye to combining them in a theory of perceptual learning and development, a theory that may be broadly applicable to humans and nonhumans, young and old.

    In the field of psychology, beginning in the 1950s, Eleanor J. Gibson nearly single-handedly developed the field of perceptual learning with a series of brilliant studies that culminated in the seminal work, Perceptual Learning and Development. An Odyssey in Learning and Perception brings together Gibson's scientific papers, including difficult-to-find or previously unpublished work, along with classic studies in perception and action. Gibson introduces each paper to show why the research was undertaken and concludes each section with comments linking the findings to later developments. A personal essay touches on the questions and concerns that guided her research.

    • Hardcover $45.00
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  • The Child's Theory of Mind

    The Child's Theory of Mind

    Henry M. Wellman

    Do children have a theory of mind? If they do, at what age is it acquired? What is the content of the theory, and how does it differ from that of adults? The Child's Theory of Mind integrates the diverse strands of this rapidly expanding field of study. It charts children's knowledge about a fundamental topic—the mind—and characterizes that developing knowledge as a coherent commonsense theory, strongly advancing the understanding of everyday theories as well as the commonsense theory of mind.

    Wellman presents evidence that children as young as age three do possess a commonsense theory of mind—that they grasp the distinction between mental constructs and physical entities and that they have an understanding of the relationship between individuals' mental states and their overt actions. He delves in detail into questions about the nature of adults' commonsense theories of mind and about the nature of commonsense theories.

    Wellman then examines the content of the three-year-old's theory of mind, the nature of children's notions of mind before age three, the changes in the theory during subsequent development from ages three to six, and the young child's conception of mind in comparison with those of older children and adults.

    • Hardcover $65.00
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  • Mind Bugs

    Mind Bugs

    The Origins of Procedural Misconceptions

    Kurt VanLehn

    As children acquire arithmetic skills, they often develop "bugs" - small, local misconceptions that cause systematic errors.

    As children acquire arithmetic skills, they often develop "bugs" - small, local misconceptions that cause systematic errors. Mind Bugs combines a novel cognitive simulation process with careful hypothesis testing to explore how mathematics students acquire procedural skills in instructional settings, focusing in particular on these procedural misconceptions and what they reveal about the learning process. VanLehn develops a theory of learning that explains how students develop procedural misconceptions that cause systematic errors. He describes a computer program, "Sierra," that simulates learning processes and predicts exactly what types of procedural errors should occur. These predictions are tested with error data from several thousand subjects from schools all over the world. Moreover, each hypothesis of the theory is tested individually by determining how the predictions would change if it were removed from the theory. Integrating ideas from research in machine learning, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, and linguistics, Mind Bugs specifically addresses error patterns on subtraction tests, showing, for example, why some students have an imperfect understanding of the rules for borrowing. Alternative explanatory hypotheses are explored by incorporating them in Sierra in place of the primary hypotheses, and seeing if the program still explains all the subtraction bugs that it explained before.

    Mind Bugs is included in the series Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change, edited by Lila Gleitman, Susan Carey, Elissa Newport, and Elizabeth Spelke. A Bradford Book

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  • Learnability and Cognition

    Learnability and Cognition

    The Acquisition of Argument Structure

    Steven Pinker

    When children learn a language, they soon are able to make surprisingly subtle distinctions: "donate them a book" sounds odd, for example, even though "give them a book" is perfectly natural. How can this happen, given that children do not confine themselves to the sentence types they hear, and are usually not corrected when they speak ungrammatically? Steven Pinker resolves this paradox in a detailed theory of how children acquire argument structure.

    In tackling a learning paradox that has challenged scholars for more than a decade, Pinker synthesizes a vast literature in linguistics and psycholinguistics and outlines explicit theories of the mental representation, learning, and development of verb meaning and verb syntax. The new theory that he describes has some surprising implications for the relation between language and thought.Pinker's solution provides insight into such key questions as, When do children generalize and when do they stick with what they hear? What is the rationale behind linguistic constraints? How is the syntax of predicates and arguments related to their semantics? What is a possible word meaning? Do languages force their speakers to construe the world in certain ways? Why does children's language seem different from that of adults?

    Learnability and Cognition is included in the series Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change, edited by Lila Gleitman, Susan Carey, Elissa Newport, and Elizabeth Spelke.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover
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  • Concepts, Kinds, and Cognitive Development

    Concepts, Kinds, and Cognitive Development

    Frank C. Keil

    In Concepts, Kinds, and Cognitive Development, Frank C. Keil provides a coherent account of how concepts and word meanings develop in children, adding to our understanding of the representational nature of concepts and word meanings at all ages.

    Keil argues that it is impossible to adequately understand the nature of conceptual representation without also considering the issue of learning. Weaving together issues in cognitive development, philosophy, and cognitive psychology, he reconciles numerous theories, backed by empirical evidence from nominal kinds studies, natural-kinds studies, and studies of fundamental categorical distinctions. He shows that all this evidence, when put together, leads to a better understanding of semantic and conceptual development.

    The book opens with an analysis of the problems of modeling qualitative changes in conceptual development, investigating how concepts of natural kinds, nominal kinds, and artifacts evolve.

    The studies on nominal kinds document a powerful and unambiguous developmental pattern indicating a shift from a reliance on global tabulations of characteristic features to what appears to be a small set of defining ones. The studies on natural kinds document an analogous shift toward a core theory instead of simple definition. Both sets of studies are strongly supported by cross cultural data.

    While these patterns seem to suggest that the young child organizes concepts according to characteristic features, Keil argues that there is a framework of conceptual categories and causal beliefs that enables even very young children to understand kinds at a deeper, theoretically guided, level. This account suggests a new way of understanding qualitative change and carries strong implications for how concepts are represented at any point in development.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $57.00
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  • Categorization and Naming in Children

    Categorization and Naming in Children

    Problems of Induction

    Ellen M Markman

    In this landmark work on early conceptual and lexical development, Ellen Markman explores the fascinating problem of how young children succeed at the task of inducing concepts. Backed by extensive experimental results, she challenges the fundamental assumptions of traditional theories of language acquisition and proposes that a set of constraints or principles of induction allows children to efficiently integrate knowledge and to induce information about new examples of familiar categories.

    • Hardcover $27.50 £22.00
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00
  • From Simple Input to Complex Grammar

    James L. Morgan

    This book explores a new and important hypothesis for how young children might be able to learn a language from very simple sentences.

    The paradox of how children regularly learn highly complex natural languages upon limited exposure to simple data lies at the center of any study of language acquisition. This book explores a new and important hypothesis for how young children might be able to learn a language from very simple sentences. The Bracketed Input Hypothesis suggests that children may receive information from their input about how the words of sentences group together to form the basic phrases from which sentences are constructed. Such information, in conjunction with the child's native and acquired language learning abilities, Morgan argues, forms part of the necessary basis for language acquisition. From Simple Input to Complex Grammar first reviews the empirical and mathematical literature on language learnability, particularly Kenneth Wexler and Peter Culicover's influential work (Formal Principles of Language Acquisition, MIT Press 1980) which provides a basis for Morgan's hypothesis. The book shows that, assuming information about phrasal structure to be available in input, one can prove that the child can learn a natural language from extremely simple sentences, sentences of the type that children actually hear. This learnability proof, by virtue of requiring both less complex input and fewer assumptions concerning the child's native endowment, represents a significant advance beyond previous results. Morgan's own work on the nature of mothers' speech to children is then discussed, indicating that requisite phrase bracketing information is present in such speech. Moreover, his study of children's representation of speech suggests that children are indeed sensitive to such information.

    From Simple Input to Complex Grammar is included in the series Learning; Development, and Conceptual Change, edited by Leila Gleitman, Susan Carey, Elissa Newport, and Elizabeth Spelke. A Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • Gavagai!

    Gavagai!

    or the Future History of the Animal Language Controversy

    David Premack

    If we meet an extraterrestrial who keeps shouting "gavagai!", how are we to decode its meaning? Do bees and dolphins possess a linguistic competence? Did the chimpanzees Sara, Washoe, and Nim acquire a human-like language? In this book, Premack examines our human fascination with using language as a tool to our understanding of ourselves. He clearly and wittily untangles the complex skein of arguments, put forth since Darwin's time, over whether we are unique because we can talk. Gavagai! examines the arguments of the biologists interested in the evolutionary significance of "talking" chimpanzees, the problems confronted by linguists trying to determine what language is, and the theories entertained by psycholinguists and philosophers. Communication is a poor way to characterize what is unique in humans, Premack argues, and language alone an even poorer measure of our uniqueness. Taking us into the animal lab, he introduces us to the trials and tribulations of Sara, Peony, Elizabeth, Washoe, and Nim as they learn "language" and explores the kind of learning that has taken place. Can a chimpanzee think with the language? Can we produce an emotional reaction in chimpanzees through the use of words alone? Can they refrain from the use of emotional physical actions, using language alone to express anger, affection, jealousy? Gavagai! concludes that we would do well to rid ourselves of our infatuation with language as the sole human specialization. Pedagogy, social attribution, and consciousness are unique forces that link one human to another. It is advanced intelligence coupled with a special factor which permits language to emerge. A human, Premack observes, is not simply a chimpanzee to which language has been added.

    • Hardcover
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  • Systems That Learn

    Systems That Learn

    An Introduction to Learning Theory for Cognitive and Computer Scientists

    Daniel N. Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein

    A mathematical framework for the study of learning in a variety of domains.

    Systems That Learn presents a mathematical framework for the study of learning in a variety of domains. It provides the basic concepts and techniques of learning theory as well as a comprehensive account of what is currently known about a variety of learning paradigms.

    • Hardcover
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00