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This course is archived
Course date
July 12–17, 2021
Application deadline
Course delivery

How does the developing mind come to represent the world? Young infants have been proposed to use similar sources of information than adults in their object-based attention. From the development of memory over executive function, number cognition, and action understanding to Theory of Mind, studies have assumed that infants have a stable representation of objects, which they enumerate and track according to the perceptual input and maintain despite occlusion.
On the other hand, a number of limitations of early object cognition exist. These limitations, differences between earlier and later abilities, and contextual influences on the representation of objects are highly informative for the characterization of the cognitive mechanisms involved. A focus of the summer school will be how object representations may be influenced by context, such as language or social interactions.
How the continuous perceptual environment is parsed into units also has an impact on how objects are represented and remembered. The summer school will explore how infants perceive and parse the temporal structure of their environment, what role language may play in this, and how this influences their object representation.
The last decade has seen an immense advancement of methodologies in neuroscience, contributing to a better understanding of how mental representations map onto brain function in the adult brain. Very recently, researchers have started to apply these methods to infants, yielding promising avenues for understanding the neural signatures of infants’ object representation, the influences of context, and the developmental trajectories of object cognition.
The summer school aims to discuss the interaction between different factors contributing to object perception and memory, from theoretical and empirical perspectives. The course will bring together different fields of research with the ultimate goal to advance the understanding of how infants form representations of their environment, and how these representations develop throughout childhood.

Key topics

Topic 1: Development of object representation - Faculty: Melissa Kibbe, Gergely Csibra
Topic 2: The influence of language on object and event representations - Faculty: Teodora Gliga, Anna Papafragou
Topic 3: The effect of social context on object representation - Faculty: Ágnes Kovács, Stefanie Hoehl
Topic 4: Neural object representations - Faculty: Stefanie Hoehl, Radoslaw Martin Cichy
Topic 5: Theories of mental representations - Faculty: Josef Perner, Brent Strickland

Session titles

Radoslaw Martin Cichy: Object representations in the infant brain
Gergely Csibra: Tracking objects and tracking symbols
Teodora Gliga: Learning object representations with language
Stefanie Hoehl: Object categories and social attention in the infant brain
Melissa Kibbe: On the format and flexibility of object representations
Ágnes Kovács: Belief files in infancy: representing and attributing underspecified or false content
Anna Papafragou: Language and Event Representation
Josef Perner: Mental files: from object to perspective.
Brent Strickland: From object perception to object cognition: Philosophical and empirical perspectives
Details in the course schedule may be subject to change due to the online format.

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