Ch.7: physics, Space, Biology and Number
How is knowledge is constructed or acquired?
• What is knowledge to a 2 year old? Acquiring knowledge through experience and how to
get needs met
• Epistemology: how to acquire knowledge
• Most of our knowledge about physical world is what we are born with (evolutionary
perspective(innate) like Rutherfords perspective)
• According to rutherford, traits are innate and born with the baby
• Build a baby activity
o Sound of encouragement and discouragement, the sounds are universally
recognized a threatening or safe situation.--> tone of voice(infant directed speech:
slower, exaggerated pitch)
o Basic physiological processes, breathing, eating .. Anything needed to survive
o Infant attachment
• What does the baby need to know about the physical world
• How we acquire knowledge
• Nature :
o Core knowledge is innate and we are born with it. Face/auditory processing, all
these are domain specific: different capacities for different abilites. For example, face
recognition is one domain and auditory is another domain specific module.
o Not domain specific. Domain general mechanisms are what is constructed with
• Things in our evolutionary history that help us survive
• Domain specificity:
o Core knowledge theorisits believe most of our knowledge is shaped by
environment ad not just born with it
Different perspectives of learning core knowledge
• Biased heuristics or privileged hypotheses that an animal uses when acquiring info about
• We are faster at learning specific things
• Carey and Spelke:
Domain for understanding faces, physics etc ..
• Object permanence • Piaget assumed that infants developed object permanence at 8 months but Baillergeons
VOE experiments proved that infants actually develop this earlier at 3.5 months
• Why do we do these habituation experiments ? What do these experiments tell us ?
o It tells us that they have the ability to discriminate between two images
Do they actually hold rich representations in their mind?
• Contact and causality:
o Infants expect: inanimate objects require contact to start moving
o Infants looked long in no contact position. They understand that objects cannot go
through each other (solidity).
o With the unsupported object to fall. At 3 months, infant understands that objects
will fall. Baillergeon argue that babies demonstrate this very early based on minimal
After 5 months of age, they know that things need to be supported
• Infant have an expectation of certain kinds of events
o Oclusion events
• By 5 months of age they show knowledge of oclusion events
o Containment events
• Not until 7months that babies are able to do this
o Covering events
• How do you find your way around?
o Landmarks, kms/distances, buildings, sense of direction (N,E,S,W),
• How do we understand space>
2 strategies to encode spatial information:
o Location with respect to self "egocentric strategy"
o Location with respect to other landmarks