Macnamara Lecture

Annual Macnamara lecture is held in honor of John Macnamara's (1929-1996) scientific and academic contributions.

Lecture from 3.30 - 5:00 pm. Wine and Cheese Reception to follow at 2001 McGill College. Admission is free.

2018 - 2019 Macnamara lecture

November 30, 2018 - Location: Rutherford Physics Building, Room 112

(Address: 3600 University Street)

Mark Sabbagh

Department of Psychology
Queen's University






TitlePreschoolers' changing minds

AbstractDuring the preschool years, children’s explicit understandings of the world go through dramatic changes. I will review the work that we have done investigating how neurobiological factors interact with particular kinds of experience to promote change in children’s naive psychological understandings, or their “theory of mind.” These findings provide evidence that neurodevelopmental factors act as a rate-limiting factor on the extent to which preschoolers can use their experiences to drive conceptual change. However, I will also present some recent evidence from our lab suggesting that, at least with respect to theory of mind understandings, biology and experience might be even more tightly integrated. Specifically, some kinds of experience may induce biological changes that support theory of mind reasoning both transiently and in the long term. Together, these findings help us to understand how deep connections between biology and experience shape conceptual development during the preschool years.