Do humans start life with the capacity to detect and mentally represent the objects around them? Or is our object knowledge instead derived only as the result of prolonged experience with the external world? Are we simply able to perceive objects by watching their actions in the world, or do we have to act on objects ourselves in order to learn about their behavior? Finally, do we come to know all aspects of objects in the same way, or are some aspects of our
object understanding more epistemologically privileged than others?
"The Origins of Object Knowledge" presents the most up-to-date survey of the research into how the developing human mind understands the world of objects and their properties. It presents some of the best findings from leading research groups in the field of object representation approached from the perspective of developmental and comparative psychology.
Topics covered in the book all address some aspect of what objects are from a psychological perspective; how humans and animals conceive what they are made of; what properties they possess; how we count them and how we categorize them; even how the difference between animate and inanimate objects leads to different expectations. The chapters also cover the variety of methodologies and techniques that must be used to study infants, young children, and non-human primates and the value of
combining approaches to discovering what each group knows.
Bringing together leading researchers, communicating the most contemporary and exciting findings within the field of object representation, this volume will be an important work in the cognitive sciences, and of interest to those across the fields of developmental and comparative psychology.
Bruce Hood is the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He hs been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT and a faculty professor at Harvard. He was awarded an Alfred Sloan Fellowship in neuroscience, the Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Infancy Researchers, the Robert Fantz memorial award and voted to Fellowship status by the Society of American Psychological Science in 2006. Laurie Santos is currently the Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. She was voted on the "Brilliant 10" Young Scientists by Popular Science Magazine and received the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.
1. Object representation as a central issue in cognitive science ; 2. Beyond 'what' and 'how many': Capacity, complexity and resolution of infants' object representations ; 3. A comparative approach to understanding human numerical cognition ; 4. Multiple object tracking in infants': four (or so) ways of being discrete ; 5. Do the same principles constrain persisting object representation in infant cognition and adult perception? The cases of continuity and cohesion ; 6. Spatiotemporal priority as a fundamental principle of object persistence ; 7. Infants' representations of material entities ; 8. The developmental origins of animal and artefact concepts ; 9. Building object knowledge from perceptual input ; 10. Modeling the origins of object knowledge ; 11. Induction, overhypotheses, and the shape bias: some arguments and evidence for rational constructivism ; 12. Young infants' expectations about self-propelled objects ; 13. Clever eyes and stupid hands: current thoughts on why dissociations of apparent knowledge occur on solidity tasks