Rita Vuyk Lectures

Developmental Psychology

Since January 2009 the department of Developmental Psychology has been organizing the "Rita Vuyk Lectures".

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These lectures are in honour of prof.dr. Margueritha Vuyk. She was the first full professor in Developmental Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. See the Album Academicum of the University of Amsterdam for more information.

These monthly lectures will have a diverse character with a wide range of eminent speakers and could be of interest to both students and employees from all departments. Here, the dates, speakers and topics for the Rita Vuyk lectures are listed.

For the most recent past lectures see below. For a full overview see the Archive.

November 26th, 16:00-17:00 in REC JKB.05. dr. Celeste Kidd,  University of California, Berkeley. Core cognitive mechanisms in learning and development.

The talk will discuss approaches aimed at understanding the computational mechanisms that drive learning and development in young children. Although infants are born knowing little about the world, they possess remarkable learning mechanisms that eventually create sophisticated systems of knowledge. We discuss recent empirical findings about learners’ cognitive mechanisms—including attention, curiosity, and metacognition—that permit such striking learning throughout infancy and childhood. We will review evidence that infants enter the world equipped with sophisticated attentional strategies that select intermediately complex material to maximize their learning potential (the “Goldilocks effect” of infant attention, e.g., Kidd, Piantadosi, & Aslin, 2012, 2014; Piantadosi, Kidd, & Aslin, 2014). We will also discuss more recent work on the dynamics of idealized attention in complex learning environments, with a focus on attentional-switching patterns and their implications for understanding learning (e.g., Pelz, Piantadosi, & Kidd, 2015; Pelz, Yung, & Kidd, 2015; Wade & Kidd, under review). We will also touch on how these general mechanisms facilitate not only smart attentional decisions, but also good decision-making in general (e.g., Kidd, Palmeri, & Aslin, 2013). 

This lecture is hosted by Marieke Jepma

November 27th, 16:00-17:00 in REC E0.14. dr. Willem Frankenhuis, Radboud University Nijmegen. Cognitive Adaptations to Harsh Environments: Memory and Reasoning about Social Dominance

Although growing up under stressful conditions can undermine mental abilities, recent research suggests that people in harsh environments may develop intact, or even enhanced,social and cognitive abilities for solving problems in high-adversity contexts (i.e., ‘hidden talents’). We examine whether childhood and current exposure to violence predict memory (number of learning rounds needed to memorize relations between items)and reasoning performance (accuracy in deducing a novel relation)on transitive inference tasks involving both violence-relevant and violence-neutral social information (social dominance vs. chronological age). We hypothesized that individuals who had more exposure to violence would perform as well or better than individuals who had less exposure to violence on transitive inference tasks involving dominance. We tested this hypothesis in a well-powered, preregistered study in 100 Dutch college students and 99 Dutch community participants with varying violence exposure. We found that more exposure to violence predicted lower overall memory performance, but did not predict reasoning performance. However, the main effects of current (but not childhood) exposure to violence on memory were qualified by significant interaction effects: More current exposure to neighborhood violence predicted worse memory for age relations, but did not predict memory for dominance relations. By contrast, more current personal involvement in violence predicted bettermemory for dominance relations, but did not predict memory for age relations. This pattern of results, which provided some support for both deficits and “hidden talents,” is striking in relation to the broader developmental literature, which has nearly exclusively reported deficits in people from harsh conditions.

This lecture is hosted by Annemie Ploeger

Published by  PRI

8 November 2018