Learning and the Infant Mind

Learning and the Infant Mind

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When asking how cognition comes to take its mature form, learning seems to be an obvious factor to consider. However, until quite recently, there has been very little contact between investigations of how infants learn and what infants know. For example, on the one hand, research efforts focused on infants' foundational conceptual knowledge-what they know about the physical permanence of objects, causal relations, and human intentions-often do not consider how learning may contribute to the structure of this knowledge. On the other hand, research efforts focused on infants' perceptual and motor learning-how they extract information from the environment, tune their behavior patterns according to this information, and generalize learning to new situations-often do not consider the potential impacts of these perceptual and learning mechanisms the structure of conceptual knowledge. Although each of these research efforts has made significant progress, this research has done little to narrow the divide between the disparate traditions of learning and knowledge. The chapters in this book document, for the first time, the insights that emerge when researchers who come from diverse domains and use different approaches make a genuine attempt to bridge this divide. The authors consider both infants' knowledge across domains, including knowledge of objects, physical relations between objects, categories, people, and language, and learning broadly construed, bringing to bear direct laboratory manipulations of learning and more general considerations of the relations between experience and knowledge. These authors have begun to consider whether and how the products of learning "go beyond" the input in several senses. As a result, several converging trends emerge across Whese diverse points of view. These authors have begun to investigate whether infants derive relatively abstract representations from experience, as well as the extent to which infants generalize information learned in one context to a new context. They have also begun to investigate the extent to which learning is generative, constraining and informing subsequent learning.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 27.94mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 50 halftones, 100 line illus.
  • 0195301153
  • 9780195301151

Review quote

"This is an excellent review of both the content and underlying processes of infants learning and cognition. It is written for a very circumscribed audience, i.e. developmental psychologists and neuroscientists. Theory and research are integrated very nicely... [T]he editors and authors really know this material and their discussion does not disappoint."--Doody's Health Sciences Review"Human infants are the power-learners of the organic world. Oddly, research on infant cognition has often emphasized what needn't be learned, rather than exploring the many remaining mysteries concerning infants' remarkable knowledge acquisition achievements. This impressive volume redresses the imbalance, with chapter after stunning chapter by the fields' leaders delivering the scoop on what is known, not known, and necessary to know about knowledge building in infancy. Read it and recursively learn." --Dare Baldwin, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon"In this beautifully conceived volume, a stellar array of scientists speaks to some of the most foundational issues in how the human mind develops. Throughout, a major goal is to bring together competing approaches to the study of infant learning and infant cognition, and to encourage and generate new research. The contributions are sure to be of central interest to anyone in the field of cognitive science." --Susan Gelman, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan"This book opens exciting vistas for innovative theorizing and research on the origins of human knowledge. Collectively, the chapters transcend old dichotomies and conceptual stalemates between what is innate or acquired, what is constructed or taught. Both new and established investigators will be moved by this book to ask new questions and establish new research agendas." --Nora S. Newcombe, Professor of Psychology and James H. Glackin Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Temple University"The book should interest a wide range of readers, from students and researchers of infant learning and development, to a more general audience interested in the philosophical questions of the nature of knowledge and how humans come to know what they know, and to those intrigued by infants' performance in cleverly designed experiments...The chapters in Woodward and Needham's book are fascinating for the cleverness of the research designs and their revelations regarding infant thought that seem to be suggested by the results of the studies."--PsycCritiques "This is an excellent review of both the content and underlying processes of infants learning and cognition. It is written for a very circumscribed audience, i.e. developmental psychologists and neuroscientists. Theory and research are integrated very nicely... [T]he editors and authors really know this material and their discussion does not disappoint."--Doody's Health Sciences Review"Human infants are the power-learners of the organic world. Oddly, research on infant cognition has often emphasized what needn't be learned, rather than exploring the many remaining mysteries concerning infants' remarkable knowledge acquisition achievements. This impressive volume redresses the imbalance, with chapter after stunning chapter by the fields' leaders delivering the scoop on what is known, not known, and necessary to know about knowledge building in infancy. Read it and recursively learn." --Dare Baldwin, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon"In this beautifully conceived volume, a stellar array of scientists speaks to some of the most foundational issues in how the human mind develops. Throughout, a major goal is to bring together competing approaches to the study of infant learning and infant cognition, and to encourage and generate new research. The contributions are sure to be of central interest to anyone in the field of cognitive science." --Susan Gelman, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan"This book opens exciting vistas for innovative theorizing and research on the origins of human knowledge. Collectively, the chapters transcend old dichotomies and conceptual stalemates between what is innate or acquired, what is constructed or taught. Both new and established investigators will be moved by this book to ask new questions and establish new research agendas." --Nora S. Newcombe, Professor of Psychology and James H. Glackin Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Temple University"The book should interest a wide range of readers, from students and researchers of infant learning and development, to a more general audience interested in the philosophical questions of the nature of knowledge and how humans come to know what they know, and to those intrigued by infants' performance in cleverly designed experiments...The chapters in Woodward and Needham's book are fascinating for the cleverness of the research designs and their revelations regarding infant thought that seem to be suggested by the results of the studies."--PsycCritiques "This is an excellent review of both the content and underlying processes of infants learning and cognition. It is written for a very circumscribed audience, i.e. developmental psychologists and neuroscientists. Theory and research are integrated very nicely... [T]he editors and authors really know this material and their discussion does not disappoint."--Doody's Health Sciences Review "Human infants are the power-learners of the organic world. Oddly, research on infant cognition has often emphasized what needn't be learned, rather than exploring the many remaining mysteries concerning infants' remarkable knowledge acquisition achievements. This impressive volume redresses the imbalance, with chapter after stunning chapter by the fields' leaders delivering the scoop on what is known, not known, and necessary to know about knowledge building in infancy. Read it and recursively learn." --Dare Baldwin, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon "In this beautifully conceived volume, a stellar array of scientists speaks to some of the most foundational issues in how the human mind develops. Throughout, a major goal is to bring together competing approaches to the study of infant learning and infant cognition, and to encourage and generate new research. The contributions are sure to be of central interest to anyone in the field of cognitive science." --Susan Gelman, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan "This book opens exciting vistas for innovative theorizing and research on the origins of human knowledge. Collectively, the chapters transcend old dichotomies and conceptual stalemates between what is innate or acquired, what isconstructed or taught. Both new and established investigators will be moved by this book to ask new questions and establish new research agendas." --Nora S. Newcombe, Professor of Psychology and James H. Glackin Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Temple University "The book should interest a wide range of readers, from students and researchers of infant learning and development, to a more general audience interested in the philosophical questions of the nature of knowledge and how humans come to know what they know, and to those intrigued by infants' performance in cleverly designed experiments...The chapters in Woodward and Needham's book are fascinating for the cleverness of the research designs and their revelations regarding infant thought that seem to be suggested by the results of the studies."--PsycCritiquesshow more

About Amanda Woodward

Amanda Woodward is Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned her doctorate at Stanford University, did post doctoral work at Cornell University, and taught at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at Maryland. She studies infant social cognition and early language development. Amy Needham is Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. She earned her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining the faculty at Duke University. She studies cognitive and motor development in infancy.show more

Table of contents

Contributors ; Introduction Amanda Woodward and Amy Needham ; 1. Learning and Memory: Like a Horse and Carriage Patricia J. Bauer ; 2. What can Statistical Learning Tell us about Infant Learning? Jenny R. Saffran ; 3. Developmental Origins of Object Perception Scott P. Johnson ; 4. An Account of Infants' Physical Reasoning Renee Baillargeon, Jie Li, Weiting Ng, Sylvia Yuan ; 5. Experience Primes Infants to Individuate Objects: Illuminating Learning Mechanisms Teresa Wilcox and Rebecca Woods ; 6. How infants learn categories Lisa M. Oakes, Jessica S. Horst, Kristine A. Kovach-Lesh, and Sammy Perone ; 7. Multiple Learning Mechanisms in the Development of Action Karen E. Adolph and Amy S. Joh ; 8. Learning in Infants' Object Perception, Object-directed Action, and Tool Use Amy Needham ; 9. Infants' Learning about Intentional Action Amanda Woodward ; 10. Early Word Learning and Other Seemingly Symbolic Behaviors Laura L. Namy ; 11. Symbol-based Learning in Infancy Judy S. DeLoache and Patricia A. Ganea ; 12. The Role of Learning in Cognitive Development: Challenges and Prospects Richard N. Aslinshow more