Cognitive Pragmatism: Children's inferences about learning, trying, and caring

When and Where

Wednesday, April 03, 2019 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm


Laura Schultz


Laura Schultz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Topic: Cognitive Pragmatism: Children's inferences about learning, trying, and caring
Colloquium Series 2018-2019
Video Recording of Talk

Abstract: I will talk about how children reason about their own and other's knowledge and abilities in ways that shape their exploration, persistence, social and moral evaluations, and division of labor. I will suggest that the sophistication of children's early reasoning about themselves and others is in tension with some ideas about children's early emotion understanding  i.e., that it may be limited to distinctions based on valence and arousal, or focused on a small set of "basic" emotions). I will provide evidence suggesting that, contra these views, even very young children can make fine-grained distinctions among emotional reactions and map them onto their probable eliciting causes. I will conclude by introducing on our new, online, developmental laboratory (Lookit!) -- an open access resource with the potential to expand both the questions we ask, and the populations we reach.

Reception to follow.

For further information, please contact Christina Starmans ( or Amy Finn (