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Human infants, like immature members of any species, must be highly selective in sampling information from their environment to learn efficiently. Failure to be selective would waste precious computational resources on material that is already known (too simple) or unknowable (too complex). In two experiments with 7- and 8-month-olds, we measure infants'(More)
Children are notoriously bad at delaying gratification to achieve later, greater rewards (e.g., Piaget, 1970)-and some are worse at waiting than others. Individual differences in the ability-to-wait have been attributed to self-control, in part because of evidence that long-delayers are more successful in later life (e.g., Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990).(More)
Studies of infant looking times over the past 50 years have provided profound insights about cognitive development, but their dependent measures and analytic techniques are quite limited. In the context of infants' attention to discrete sequential events, we show how a Bayesian data analysis approach can be combined with a rational cognitive model to create(More)
Infants must learn about many cognitive domains (e.g., language, music) from auditory statistics, yet capacity limits on their cognitive resources restrict the quantity that they can encode. Previous research has established that infants can attend to only a subset of available acoustic input. Yet few previous studies have directly examined infant auditory(More)
Even before birth, infants attend to the statistical properties of their sensory environments to learn about events in world. Tracking these statistics is crucial to mastery of visual, social, linguistic, and cognitive tasks. However, the degree to which their sampling follows prescriptions of rational statistical inference is unclear. Do infants'(More)
Children are driven by curiosity to learn about novel objects and concepts through exploration of their environments, and the results of these behaviors are crucial to cognitive development. This study seeks to examine how exploration changes as children mature, and how experience with touch-screen tablets affects their exploration of novel environments.(More)
The ability to infer the referential intentions of speakers is a crucial part of learning a language. Previous research has uncovered various contextual and social cues that children may use to do this. Here we provide the first evidence that children also use speech disfluencies to infer speaker intention. Disfluencies (e.g. filled pauses 'uh' and 'um')(More)
Self-directed learning, defined as the ability to choose what to learn about, represents a unique educational opportunity. We test the effect of self-direction on learning outcomes in children (N=32, age range=3-5 years) in a novel word-learning task conducted via touchscreen tablets. Study participants were randomly assigned to one of two learning(More)
We present evidence that pressures for early childcare may have been one of the driving factors of human evolution. We show through an evolutionary model that runaway selection for high intelligence may occur when (i) altricial neonates require intelligent parents, (ii) intelligent parents must have large brains, and (iii) large brains necessitate having(More)