Dr. Susan Gelman’s talk: “How children look beyond the obvious.”
Abstract: A hallmark of human cognition is the capacity to think about observable experience in ways that are non-obvious — from scientific concepts (genes, molecules) to everyday understandings (blood ties, soul). Where does this capacity come from, and how does it develop? I argue that, contrary to what is classically assumed, young children often extend beyond the tangible “here-and-now” to think about hidden, invisible, abstract entities. I give examples from three lines of research: essentialism, generics, and object history.