Cognitive Science Colloquium Series Fall 2009-2020:

  Neurodevelopmental bases of preschoolers' theory of mind development

The unique complexity of humans' social lives stems, at least in part, from having a sophisticated "theory of mind" -- an understanding that humans behavior is caused by internal, unseeable mental states such as beliefs, desires and intentions. In all cultures that have been examined, preschool children go through a remarkable transition in their theory of mind capacity. During this time, they become able to recognize that epistemic mental states (such as knowledge and belief) are person specific representations that can differ in content from some true state of affairs. The general insight into the mind has several entailments, including an understanding of false beliefs, and deception. In my talk, I will present recent research from our lab that has used cognitive neuropsychological, brain electrophysiological (i.e., EEG and ERP) and molecular genetic methods to better understand the neurodevelopmental changes that underlie this universal preschool cognitive achievement.

May 2010: UW Cognitive Science Conference

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