Alison Gopnik

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The authors outline a cognitive and computational account of causal learning in children. They propose that children use specialized cognitive systems that allow them to recover an accurate "causal map" of the world: an abstract, coherent, learned representation of the causal relations among events. This kind of knowledge can be perspicuously understood in(More)
This cross-linguistic study investigates children's early lexical development in English and Korean, and compares caregivers' linguistic input in the two languages. In Study 1, the lexical development of nine Korean children was followed from 1;2 to 1;10 by monthly visits and maternal reports. These Korean data were compared to previously collected English(More)
Three studies investigated whether young children make accurate causal inferences on the basis of patterns of variation and covariation. Children were presented with a new causal relation by means of a machine called the "blicket detector." Some objects, but not others, made the machine light up and play music. In the first 2 experiments, children were told(More)
Three studies explored whether and when children could categorize objects on the basis of a novel underlying causal power. To test this we constructed a "blicket detector," a machine that lit up and played music when certain objects were placed on it. First, 2-, 3- and 4-year-old children saw that an object labeled as a "blicket" would set off the machine.(More)
Previous research suggests that children can infer causal relations from patterns of events. However, what appear to be cases of causal inference may simply reduce to children recognizing relevant associations among events, and responding based on those associations. To examine this claim, in Experiments 1 and 2, children were introduced to a “blicket(More)
Five studies investigated (a) children's ability to use the dependent and independent probabilities of events to make causal inferences and (b) the interaction between such inferences and domain-specific knowledge. In Experiment 1, preschoolers used patterns of dependence and independence to make accurate causal inferences in the domains of biology and(More)
 Esther Thelen, Ph.D. was professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Indiana University; fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Society; and President of the Society for Research in Child Development. I thank Emmanuel Ghent for his helpful comments and especially for his encouragement(More)
We propose a causal Bayesian model of false belief reasoning in children. This model realizes theory of mind as the rational use of intuitive theories and supports causal prediction, explanation, and theory revision. The model undergoes an experience-driven false belief transition. We investigate the relationship between prediction, explanation, and(More)
The conditional intervention principle is a formal principle that relates patterns of interventions and outcomes to causal structure. It is a central assumption of experimental design and the causal Bayes net formalism. Two studies suggest that preschoolers can use the conditional intervention principle to distinguish causal chains, common cause and(More)