Development of Learning


How does children’s learning change with age and experience? We often hear (and say) that infants are the best learners. Is that right? Do learning abilities decrease over development?

Would there be interest in a Special Topic meeting to bring together diverse perspectives on the development of learning?

  • Applied and Basic
  • General and Domain Specific
  • Cultural, Cognitive, and Social-Emotional

I think this is a great topic that has the potential to bridge many areas of developmental psychology. I would be interested in cultural perspectives on learning (particularly social learning)


I like this topic. Relatedly, I would really like to see a specific focus on long-term impact of racism and inclusion on health, well-being, and academic achievement.

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I like this topic, as well. More generally, I would like to see a focus on implications of cognitive developmental research for school-based learning, and the “development of learning” idea seems highly relevant in that area.


I also think this would be a great topic and overlaps with NSF funding and so might be interesting to have a way to meet collaborators that could lead to an NSF grant?


Are you thinking of the “Science of Learning” program at NSF? It’s a great idea to make this program more visible to the developmental community.


Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking. It is really tapping an interesting overlap in developmental with other areas like cognitive, cognitive neuroscience, and education.


I think learning abilities are greatest for language in infancy, although they decline more slowly than was initially supposed. The Uttal et al meta-analysis of spatial training showed no diminution with age though. I think the answers to your question are domain-specific.


I think something like this would be great! A group of us (me, Seth Pollak, Dave Sobel) were thinking of something along these lines, though, perhaps we have been less focused on changes with age and more about what we are calling an “integrative” view. We think that a real challenge facing cog dev folks is that although we acknowledge the value of multiple intellectual and theoretical orientations (i.e., socio-cultural, cognitive diagnosis, neurobiological) integrating among these at any point in the study of children’s development is rare, partly because it is so difficult (different methods, different assumptions, different language, etc.) We imagined that a special-topics conference on children’s learning (like the one you’re suggesting) might take as at least one of its goals a discussion of ways in which our science might benefit from a truly integrated approach to understanding learning, and how we might begin to take some steps toward that.

We cobbled together a proposal that we could share, but thought it would be best to add in here as a start!

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