Fireside Chat #1
Susan Carey is the Henry A. Morss, Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. She received her B.A. from Radcliffe College, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Carey’s research concerns the development of concepts in the child and adult and the cultural construction of concepts over history. Her awards include the Nicod Prize (1998), the William James Fellowship (2002), the David Rumerhart Prize (2009), the APA Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award (2009), and the APA Mentor Award (2013). She is a member of the Society for Experimental Psychology, the American Association of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
Susan Gelman is the Heinz Werner Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. She received her B.A. from Oberlin College, and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Gelman studies concepts and language in young children. She is the author of over 200 scholarly publications, including a prize-winning monograph, The Essential Child (2003). She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a former president of the Cognitive Development Society and Guggenheim fellow, and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, and the Cognitive Science Society.
Gail Heyman is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. She received her B.S. from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Heyman collaborates with researchers around the world to investigate topics at the intersection of social and cognitive development, including how children make sense of the social world, and factors that affect their moral behavior. She is the author of over 150 scholarly publications.
Frank Keil is the Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Psychology & Linguistics at Yale University. He received his B.S. from MIT, his M.A. from Stanford University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Work in his lab explores how young children cognitively grasp the many levels and types of causal structure inherent in the world. Much of this research involves asking how intuitive explanations and understandings emerge in development and how they are related to notions of cause, mechanism and agency. Keil’s honors include being a Guggenheim Fellow and the president of the Society of Philosophy and Psychology. His latest book, Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science, was published in March, 2022
Elizabeth Spelke is the Marshall L. Berkman Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and an investigator at the NSF-MIT Center for Brains, Minds and Machines. She received her B.A. from Radcliffe College, and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Spelke’s laboratory focuses on the sources of uniquely human cognitive capacities, including capacities for formal mathematics, for constructing and using symbols, and for developing comprehensive taxonomies of objects. She probes the sources of these capacities primarily through behavioral research on human infants and preschool children, focusing on the origins and development of their understanding of objects, actions, people, places, number, and geometry.
Florencia Anggoro is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross. She completed her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology (with a specialization in cognitive science) from Northwestern University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on conceptual development, particularly the role of language, culture, and formal and informal learning experiences in shaping children’s and adults’ concepts. Her research has been published in various journals including Psychological Science and Child Development, and supported by the Institute of Education Sciences. Her recent work has focused on designing and testing cognitive supports for children’s science learning.
Julian Jara-Ettinger is an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, with affiliations to the Computer Science department, the Cognitive Science program, and the Wu Tsai institute. Julian received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics at the Universidad Michoacana in Mexico and his PhD in Cognitive Science at MIT. At Yale, Julian’s research group—the computational social cognition lab—aims to characterize the representations and computations that support human social cognition, understand how they emerge and develop, and use them to build more human-like machine social intelligence.
Jinjing Jenny Wang
Jenny Wang is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University - New Brunswick, where she directs the Cognition and Learning Center (CALC). Her research focuses on the ontogenetic origins of abstract thinking, such as how children develop concepts of number, what intuitive theories children have, and how these developing concepts interact with children’s learning. Her research has been published in top journals such as Psychological Science, Developmental Science, and Child Development and featured by international media such as the BBC and Washington Post.
Kristin Shutts is a professor of psychology as well as an investigator in the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and completed postdoctoral training in developmental and social psychology at Harvard and Children’s Hospital Boston. Her research focuses on the developmental of social cognition in early childhood, including the origins and reduction of intergroup biases. Recently, she was named an APS fellow and received the William H. Kiekhofer Distinguished Teaching Award.
Fireside Chat #2
Michelene T.H. Chi
Regents Professor and Dorothy Bray Endowed Professor of Science and Teaching at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University.
Dr. Chi works at the intersection of the science of learning and educational practice. Her ICAP theory classifies students’ learning activities into four hierarchical modes aligned with cognitive processes that successfully predict four levels of learning outcomes. Her recent PAIR-C framework identifies an a-causal structure whose omission explains the robustness of students’ misconceptions for science process-concepts. She is also implementing her work on the online learning advantages of viewing tutorial dialog videos instead of lecture monolog videos. For her interdisciplinary contributions, Dr. Chi received the 2019 Rumelhart Prize in Cognitive Science, the 2020 McGraw Prize in Education, and the 2021 APS William James Fellow Award in Psychology.
Dr. Paul L. Harris is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education at Harvard University. He is an expert in social and cognitive development. He is the author of 7 books, the most recent of which focuses on children’s selective learning from others as a source of information. Dr. Harris has received numerous awards including named Fellow of the British Academy, the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Harris will provide expertise specifically on (a) the establishment and maintenance of international research collaborations, (b) the selection of measures that appropriately target the research questions, and (c) the measurement of verbal, textual, and non-verbal testimony.
Chuck Kalish is an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin. He was a professor in the department of Educational Psychology from 1993-2018. Most recently he served as Director for Science at the Society for Research in Child Development from 2018-2020. Dr. Kalish was also a Program Director at the National Science Foundation for the Science of Learning and the Developmental Sciences programs from 2015-2016. His research on social cognition has addressed children's conceptions of: preferences and social norms, social groups, ownership, and the nature of choice and commitment. A second broad line of research has focused on learning and inductive inference in children, adults, and machines.
Fireside Chat #3
Alison Gopnik is professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of over 120 journal articles and several books including the bestselling and critically acclaimed “The Scientist in the Crib”, “The Philosophical Baby” and “The Gardener and the Carpenter:” She is a Guggenheim fellow, and fellow of the Cognitive Science Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and President-Elect of the Association for Psychological Science. She writes the Mind and Matter science column for the Wall Street Journal.
Henry Wellman received his B.A. from Pomona College, was a kindergarten teacher then received his Ph.D. from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Wellman has been at the University of Michigan for 40 years where he is the Harold Stevenson Collegiate Professor. His research has focused on children's developing knowledge of persons or "theory of mind.” His book, “Making Minds” (2014), won two book awards. He is past-president of the Cognitive Development Society, recipient of the G. Stanley Hall Award, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Michigan with his wife Karen Lind.
Hosts and Organizers
Kirsten Lesage is a developmental psychologist currently based out of Boston University. She completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of California, Riverside in 2020. Kirsten’s research interests focus on (1) the cultural evolution of how causal explanatory systems are transmitted (vertical and oblique), such as language, testimony, social learning, and rituals, (2) the emergence of explanatory worldviews in early childhood (folk, scientific, religious, supernatural), and (3) the role of the sociocultural context in the development of religious cognition and supernatural beliefs (e.g., concepts of God, prayer, supernatural causality). Her more recent work includes a set of cross-cultural studies examining parents’ and children’s causal explanations for biological illnesses (USA, Colombia, Mauritius). Since 2014, she has also worked with Dr. Rebekah Richert on a longitudinal study with examining children’s conceptions of prayer, supernatural beings, and causal mechanisms in four religious groups: Protestant Christian, Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Non-Affiliate. Personal website: www.kirstenlesage.com
Kara Weisman studies intuitive theories and conceptual change, with a focus on folk philosophy of mind. Kara completed a B.A. in cognitive science at Yale University in 2009, and a Ph.D. in psychology at Stanford University in 2019. From 2016-2020, she was one of the core researchers on the Mind and Spirit Project (funded by the Templeton Foundation, PI: T.M. Luhrmann), a long-term collaboration grounded in anthropology and psychology, which examined how understandings of the mind shape people’s spiritual experiences across diverse faiths and cultures. In her recent work, Kara has advocated for leveraging “bottom-up” statistical analyses to identify continuities and differences in concepts across groups of people, with particular attention to concepts of mental life among adults and 4- to 12-year-old children in the US, Ghana, Thailand, China, and Vanuatu. She is based out of the University of California, Riverside, but lives in the Greater Boston area. Personal website: kgweisman.github.io
Kathleen Corriveau is an associate professor of applied human development at Boston University and the director of the Social Learning Lab. Her research focuses on social and cognitive development in childhood, with a specific focus on how children decide what people and what information are trustworthy sources. Corriveau's research has been widely published in a number of high impact journals, including Psychological Science, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Science, Cognition. Her work has received national media attention, with media coverage from New York Daily News, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Reader, The Week UK, Religion News Service, World Religion News, Philosophy News, Slate, Swedish Radio, The Economist, and CBC Radio. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Psychological Association. She has received several awards, including being named a current Fellow and former Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, and the Early Career Impact Award from the Foundation of Associations of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and holds a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.
Rebekah Richert is a full professor of psychology and the director of the Childhood Cognition Lab at the University of California, Riverside. Based on her training in cognitive development, Dr. Richert has developed various lines of research into how children’s developing social cognition influences their understanding of religion, fantasy, and media. Her research team is nearly done with data collection from a JTF-funded, 6-wave longitudinal study of the development of religious cognitions in early childhood in children from various religious background. Her research has been published in top journals in developmental psychology, including Child Development, Cognitive Development, Developmental Psychology, and the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, as well as journals specifically devoted to the psychology of religion, including Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion and the Journal of Cognition & Culture. Dr. Richert’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (including as PI of a 5-year Collaborative Research Grant), the Social Science Research Council, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Templeton World Charity Trust.
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