Infants’ Grasp of Others’ Intentions: The Development of Social Understanding

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Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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In this lecture, Amanda Woodward discusses the nature and origins of children’s social understanding. When we watch others act, we see more than bodies in motion; we see agents whose actions are structured by intentions. This fundamental aspect of human social cognition has profound implications for early childhood development and social learning.

Kevin Pelphrey provides post-lecture commentary on the ways in which our growing understanding of the early developmental origins of children’s social cognition can inform our search for early diagnostic indicators of autism. This, in turn, could lead to more effective early treatments for the core social deficits in autism.

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