The FABBS Foundation Honors Dr. Rochel Gelman
In Honor Of...Rochel Gelman
Honoring scientists who have made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.
Rochel Gelman, PhD
Rochel Gelman is widely-recognized as a pioneer in the investigation of cognitive development. She is known for her ground-breaking empirical and theoretical contributions to the field. Her vision, coupled with her creative new protocols, called into question long-held assumptions about preschool children’s cognitive competence and paved the way for more recent traditions in developmental science. Over the course of her career, Gelman has developed an elegant theoretical framework that takes into account both the early structure inherent in the young mind and the powerful role of learning. An outstanding mentor, she has inspired generations of students to become leaders in developmental cognitive science.
Gelman’s work on early cognitive development was among the first to focus attention on the competences of preschool-aged children and infants. Her overarching goal is to achieve a theory that accommodates both the early learning that occurs with relative ease and the later learning that requires considerable effort, quality inputs, and protracted time. Her empirical work has focused primarily on very young children’s intuitive understanding of natural number and arithmetic, their earliest notions of the distinctions between animate and inanimate objects, and their acquisition of conversational competence. These foci have formed the foundation for her work in developing preschool curricula, aimed at supporting early advances in science and math. Of late, she has turned to considering older peoples’ difficulties in understanding rational numbers and other topics in science and mathematics.