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Elizabeth Spelke

Harvard University
Interdisciplinary approaches to cognition and learning
01 February 2022 -
30 June 2022

Elizabeth Spelke teaches in the Psychology Department at Harvard and participates in the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines at MIT. Formerly at Pennsylvania, Cornell, and MIT, she is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. Her awards include the 2016 Carvalho-Heineken Prize in Cognitive Sciences, the 2014 NAS Prize in the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, the 2009 Jean Nicod Prize, and honorary degrees from the Universities of Umea (1993), Paris-Descartes (2007), Utrecht (2010), and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris, 1999). Her work is strongly marked by sabbaticals in Paris that spawned longstanding collaborations with investigators in the cognitive and brain sciences. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the French Ministry for Education.

Research interests

Human infants knowledge about objects, animate beings, the social world, geometry, and number. Children development of new systems of knowledge, especially prior to the start of formal schooling.

Interdisciplinary approaches to cognition and learning

The current proposed project has two goals. 1) to bring to fruition the next level of interdisciplinary collaboration between cognitive science and economics, by working with Esther Duflo and Stanislas Dehaene among others, and with a host of their collaborators in India, South America, Paris, and Chicago.  2) to leverage the interdisciplinary focus on cognitive science, computational science, and neuroscience that is so rich in Paris to gain a deeper understanding of human language:  the cognitive and neural capacity that most distinguishes humans from other animals and that contributes most importantly to infants’ and children’s prodigious capacity for learning.

Key publications

Spelke E.S., Kim S., « Learning from multiple informants: children’s response to epistemic bases for consensus judgments », in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 192, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104759

Spelke E.S., « Core Knowledge, Language, and Number », in Language Learning and Development, vol 13, n°2, 2017, p. 147-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/15475441.2016.1263572

Spelke E.S., Dillon MR., Kannan H., Dean JT., Duflo E., “Cognitive science in the field: A preschool intervention durably enhances intuitive but not formal mathematics”, in Science, vol.357, n°6346, 2017, p. 47-55. http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal4724 

12 Apr 2022 10:00 -
12 Apr 2022 13:00,
Interdisciplinary approaches to cognition and learning

Other or several periods
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