University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Colloquium Series 2018-19: Dr. Susan Gelman

May 2 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

We are excited to welcome Dr. Susan Gelman from the University of Michigan to give a talk on Thursday, May 2 at 4 pm in the Orchard view of the Discovery building. The title and abstract are below.

All talks in the colloquium series are generously funded by Sharon M. Guten Donor Advised Fund.

Title: The Essential Child

Abstract: What children can teach us about the human mind Abstract: Psychological essentialism is an intuitive belief that certain categories, such as animal kinds and certain social kinds (e.g., gender, race, intelligence), reflect not just observable features, but also a deeper, non-obvious reality. I review evidence suggesting that essentialism is an early cognitive bias, but also that children show substantial variation in essentialist reasoning in different cultural contexts. This variation raises the key question of what are the mechanisms by which essentialist beliefs are transmitted to young children. I discuss the role of language, with data from parent-child conversations, children’s books, and experimental tasks.


May 2
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm