Two members of the Cognitive Development Lab presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society in Philadelphia.
Brittany Klimek, a former research assistant, presented findings from her undergraduate Honors Thesis project. Her study examined the development of children’s intuitions about the mind and to what degree children believe people have control over their mental states — that is, their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Findings from this study suggest that both school-aged children and adults view mental states as relatively unintentional and unstable across time. However, children are more likely than adults to endorse the idea that individuals can freely change their own ongoing mental activity.

Kelsey Moty, a pre-doctoral research associate/lab member for the lab, presented work done in collaboration with Mahesh Srinivasan from University of California, Berkeley. This project explored how children and adults use information conveyed by articles (e.g., “a”, “the” in English) to infer what a speaker is talking about. Against previous assumptions, this project found that even adults cannot use information conveyed by “a” and “the” alone to reason about which objects in the world a speaker is talking about.