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Thursday, April 21, 2022

9:00 AM - 4:15 PM

 Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center

Madison, Wisconsin


Theory-theory has had tremendous reach within cognitive developmental science and beyond, extending from its early roots in “folk psychology,” “folk biology,” and “naive physics,” to more recent explorations of the development of “intuitive sociology,” “folk anthropology,” “intuitive archeology,” “folk philosophy of mind,” and so on. In this pre-conference, the CDS community is invited to come together on April 21, 2022, to reflect on how this theoretical perspective has evolved over the past three decades, how the diversification of our methods and content areas has pushed this collective research program forward, and what questions and controversies remain to be explored. 


The day will begin with a structured mentorship program between junior and senior scholars, followed by a “fireside chat” discussion with the authors of two of the seminal papers that popularized theory-theory among cognitive developmentalists: Drs. Susan Gelman, Alison Gopnik, and Henry Wellman. In a keynote symposium we will hear from leading scholars on some of the cutting-edge research that is pushing the field’s understanding of “folk theories” forward, including work on how language and culture shape folk biology (Dr. Florencia Anggoro), work employing computational modeling and cultural comparison (Dr. Julian Jara-Ettinger), work on “folk sociology” (Dr. Kristin Shutts), and work on children’s active information seeking (Dr. Jinjing Jenny Wang). After a leisurely lunch, we will host a second “fireside chat” discussion with senior scholars whose work has defined, transformed, and challenged “theory-theory,” including Drs. Michelene Chi, John Coley, Tamsin German, Paul Harris, and Chuck Kalish. The day will conclude with a “flash talk” session and a poster session featuring new and ongoing work by early-career researchers. 

Hosts and Organizers

Kara Weisman – Host and Organizer

Kirsten Lesage – Host and Organizer

Rebekah Richert – Organizer

Kathleen Corriveau – Organizer


Fireside chat #1: 

Susan Carey

Susan Gelman

Gail Heyman

Frank Keil

Elizabeth Spelke

Moderated by Kara Weisman & Kirsten Lesage 


Keynote symposium:

Julian Jara-Ettinger 

Florencia Anggoro 

Jinjing Jenny Wang 

Kristin Shutts 

Fireside chat #2:

Michelene Chi

Paul Harris

Chuck Kalish

Moderated by Kara Weisman & Kirsten Lesage  


Flash Talks:

Hannah Kramer

Rachel Leshin

Shari Liu

Rahma Mbarki

Brittany Schotsch

Ashley Thomas

Fireside chat #3:

Alison Gopnik

Henry Wellman

Moderated by Kara Weisman & Kirsten Lesage  


Poster Session + refreshments

Michelle S. Hung

Emily Herry

Elizabeth Lapidow

Karen Lara

Hea Jung Lee

Ziwen Wang

Breakfast, Lunch, afternoon refreshments, and all-day coffee service included.

Funding for this conference was provided by The John Templeton Foundation

and the University of California, Riverside 

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