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Paperback | $29.00 Short | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780262530736| 6 x 9 in | October 1987

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Conceptual Change In Childhood


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.

A Bradford Book

About the Author

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.


"Susan Carey has done some of the most elegant and careful work anywhere on the nature of conceptual change, not only in children but also across history. Her work on children's understanding of biological concepts is the first coherent and consistent account of this complicated area. It finally enables us to understand the classical Piagetian work on animism and how it fits with the later work on children's concepts of living things."
Frank Keil, Cornell University