Frank C. Keil

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The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) brings together 471 brief articles on a very wide range of topics within cognitive science. The general editors worked with advisory editors in six contributing fields, including Gennaro Chierchia on Linguistics and Language and Michael I. Jordan and Stuart Russell on Computational Intelligence. MITECS(More)
Young children are surprisingly judicious imitators, but there are also times when their reproduction of others' actions appears strikingly illogical. For example, children who observe an adult inefficiently operating a novel object frequently engage in what we term overimitation, persistently reproducing the adult's unnecessary actions. Although children(More)
These studies suggest categorical perception effects may be much more general than has commonly been believed and can occur in apparently similar ways at dramatically different levels of processing. To test the nature of individual face representations, a linear continuum of "morphed" faces was generated between individual exemplars of familiar faces. In(More)
The study of explanation, while related to intuitive theories, concepts, and mental models, offers important new perspectives on high-level thought. Explanations sort themselves into several distinct types corresponding to patterns of causation, content domains, and explanatory stances, all of which have cognitive consequences. Although explanations are(More)
People feel they understand complex phenomena with far greater precision, coherence, and depth than they really do; they are subject to an illusion-an illusion of explanatory depth. The illusion is far stronger for explanatory knowledge than many other kinds of knowledge, such as that for facts, procedures or narratives. The illusion for explanatory(More)
What makes an object the same persisting individual over time? Philosophers and psychologists have both grappled with this question, but from different perspectives — philosophers conceptually analyzing the criteria for object persistence, and psychologists exploring the mental mechanisms that lead us to experience the world in terms of persisting objects.(More)
We investigate the problem of how nonnatural entities are represented by examining university students' concepts of God, both professed theological beliefs and concepts used in comprehension of narratives. In three story processing tasks, subjects often used an anthropomorphic God concept that is inconsistent with stated theological beliefs; and drastically(More)
Explanations of psychological phenomena seem to generate more public interest when they contain neuroscientific information. Even irrelevant neuroscience information in an explanation of a psychological phenomenon may interfere with people's abilities to critically consider the underlying logic of this explanation. We tested this hypothesis by giving naïve(More)
Concepts seem to consist of both an associative component based on tabulations of feature typicality and similarity judgments and an explanatory component based on rules and causal principles. However, there is much controversy about how each component functions in concept acquisition and use. Here we consider two assumptions, or dogmas, that embody this(More)
Children are generally masterful imitators, both rational and flexible in their reproduction of others' actions. After observing an adult operating an unfamiliar object, however, young children will frequently overimitate, reproducing not only the actions that were causally necessary but also those that were clearly superfluous. Why does overimitation(More)