David J. Lewkowicz, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, will present his research at the first Psychology Department Smoke Colloquium of the year. He will speak on the topic "Does Nature or Experience Make Babies Smart?"
Abstract: The great philosophers, Plato, Descartes, and Kant believed that humans are endowed with innate knowledge. Unfortunately, this assumption is problematic because there is nothing in our biology that codes for knowledge per se. In addition, the newborn brain is highly immature and years of schooling are necessary before high-level cognitive abilities emerge. This suggests that we acquire our knowledge gradually and this is probably the result of complex and dynamic interactions between our biological endowment, neural growth, and everyday experience. In this talk, I will present evidence consistent with this dynamical systems view and show that specific early perceptual experience enables infants to gradually begin to understand the actions of the people and the objects around them, that younger infants are actually 'smarter' than older infants, and that being smarter earlier is adaptive because it permits infants to eventually become perceptual experts.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lewkowicz on Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. in Bowen Auditorium, McCreary Hall 115.