Postgraduate Course: Development of Abstract Thinking (PSYL11083)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||The ability to reason based on abstract concepts e.g., the roles that an object plays, rather than the literal features of that object - is fundamental to some of our most interesting and unique cognitive capabilities (e.g., mathematics, humour, science). In fact, the ability to think relationally has been posited as the fundamental difference between human and non-human animal cognition (Penn et al., 2008).
The ability to reason relationally based on the roles that an object plays, rather than the literal features of that object - is fundamental to some of our most interesting and unique cognitive capabilities (e.g., mathematics, humour, science). In fact, the ability to think relationally has been posited as the fundamental difference between human and non-human animal cognition (Penn et al., 2008).
Predictably, children do not appear to start out with the ability to reason using (or seemingly even to represent) abstract concepts. Rather, the ability develops on a seemingly domain by domain basis. This course will focus on the development of abstract thinking and the development of relational cognition. We will explore theories, empirical data, and neurophysiological results that seek to explain how the ability to reason using abstract concepts develops.
Each week's session will comprise a lecture as well as group discussions based on the course readings. Students will write three summaries of course readings (1 peer assessed, 1 assessed by instructor) and a coursework essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- understand what higher-level cognition, and relational reasoning are
- appreciate the centrality of abstract reasoning and relational reasoning to human thinking
- understand what relational cognition is and appreciate the centrality of relational cognition in human thinking
- understand how the ability to represent and reason using relations changes with development and appreciate the difficulty in accounting for relational cognition and for how relational cognition develops in children
- understand the various methodologies (developmental, empirical, neural, computational) that are brought to bear on addressing how relational thinking develops
|Andrews, G. & Halford, G.S. (2002). A cognitive complexity metric applied to cognitive development. Cognitive Psychology, 45, 153-219.|
Doumas. L. A. A., Hummel, J. E., & Sandhofer, C. M. (2008). A theory of the discovery and predication of relational concepts. Psychological Review, 115, 1 - 43.
Gentner, D (2003). Why we're so smart. In D. Gentner and S. Goldin-Meadow (Eds.), Language in mind: Advances in the study of language and thought (pp.195-235). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Gentner, D., Rattermann, M. J., Markman, A. B., & Kotovsky, L. (1995). Two forces in the development of relational similarity. In T. J. Simon & G. S. Halford (Eds.), Developing cognitive competence: New approaches to process modeling (pp. 263-313). Hillsdale, NJ: LEA.
Holyoak, K. J. (2013). Analogy. In K. J. Holyoak & R. G. Morrison (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of thinking and Reasoning. Oxford University Press.
Hosenfeld, B., van der Maas, H.L.J., & van den Boom, D. (1997). Indicators of discontinuous change in the development of analogical reasoning. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 64, 367-395.
Morrison, RG, Doumas, LAA, & Richland, LE (2011). A computational account of the development of analogical reasoning: The importance of inhibitory control in working memory. De-velopmental Science, 14, 516-529.
Rattermann, M. J., & Gentner, D. (1998). More evidence for a relational shift in the development of analogy: Children's performance on a causal-mapping task. Cognitive Development, 13, 453-478.
Richland, L.E., Morrison, R.G., & Holyoak, K.J. (2006). Children's development of analogical reasoning: Insights from scene analogy problems. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 94, 249-273.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||cognitive science,cognition,abstract concepts,analogy,computational models
|Course organiser||Dr Alex Doumas
Tel: (0131 6)51 1328
|Course secretary||Miss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188