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Surprise-Induced Learning in Infants and Children

Dr. Aimee E. Stahl

Thursday, October 27, 2016, 12:00pm - 01:00pm

The College of New Jersey, Department of Psychology

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Given the overwhelming quantity of information available from the environment, how do young learners know what to attend to and learn about versus what to ignore? In this talk I will propose that one mechanism for narrowing the learning space is for infants and children to use violations of prior expectations as special opportunities for learning. I will present a series of experiments showing that when infants and children witness an object defy their expectations, they learn about it better, explore it more, and seek explanations for that object’s behavior. Thus, early in life, expectancy violations offer a wedge into the problem of what to learn.

Dr. Aimee E. Stahl