We are pleased to announce a special School of Psychology seminar Friday 20th Feb with a presentation by Professor Henry Wellman, University of Michigan.
DATE: Friday, 20 February 2009, 3-4 pm followed by refreshments.
LOCATION: Room S402 Social Sciences Bldg
TITLE: Causal Reasoning: Theory of mind as informed by the early development of explanations
I'll argue that how causal reasoning develops gives us particular insight into its structure and character. And, that a particularly revealing window is provided by causal explanations. In the developmental literature it is assumed that causal predictions are easier (and earlier developing) than explanations and also more revealing. I claim the reverse is actually more plausible: causal explanations are easier (and at least as early developing) as predictions. I will review evidence, mostly from my own research on the child's theory of mind and its development, that shows (a) explanations are important to even very young children, (b) explanations are frequent from and to young children, and (c) explanations are central to the very processes that produce knowledge acquisition and change within human development.
Henry Wellman was born in North Carolina, was a kindergarten teacher before going to grad school, and did his graduate studies with John Flavell at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. For 30 years he has been at the University of Minnesota where he is Professor of Psychology and Research Professor at the Center for Human Growth and Development. He is current President of the Cognitive Development Society. He was at University of Queensland 5 years ago for several (enjoyable and fruitful) months and now again, both times collaborating largely with Candi Peterson.
Photo source: UMich