Departmental Colloquium: Sabine Hunnius (Radboud University)
How Young Children Learn About and From Others
Infants come into this world equipped with advanced learning mechanisms. Moreover, from early on they show an elaborate pattern of allocating attention to stimuli in a way that allows them to learn optimally from their environment. I will present a series of behavioral and neurophysiological experiments demonstrating how these mechanisms support infants’ social learning. In addition, I will discuss recent research from my lab on adults’ infant-directed behaviors that shows how adults skillfully adapt their teaching behaviors to the attentional preferences and learning capabilities of their infant interaction partners to optimize learning. Together, my research demonstrates how the intricate interaction of infants’ basic learning mechanisms and a well-matched social environment brings about the astonishing developmental changes of early childhood.