Speaker: Dr. Dave Sobel, Brown University
Title: Bridging the gap between causal and scientific reasoning
Location: PAS 2083
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Reception to follow in PAS 3005
Abstract: There is a long literature that suggests young children, and even infants, have sophisticated causal reasoning abilities. There is an equally long literature that suggests it is not until age 6 at the earliest that children begin to engage in scientific reasoning – particularly in terms of relating hypotheses to data. In this talk, I will describe these literatures, and present two lines of evidence that attempt to bridge the gap. The first is a set of laboratory-based projects that focus on conceptual differences between causal and scientific reasoning and how certain methodological factors potentially explain why scientific reasoning might be difficult for young children and what could be done to improve these capacities. The second is a set of observations based on parent-child interaction at a children’s museum. Parents and children were observed playing at exhibits, and we examined the systematicity of their play, and how that systematicity related to their engagement with learning science and their causal knowledge.
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