Lehre und Veranstaltungen

SoSe 2011

Hinweis: Seit dem SoSe 2011 finden Sie alle Lehrmaterialien zu unseren
Veranstaltungen bei StudIP.

Lehre und Veranstaltungen



Einen Überblick über laufende Veranstaltungen sowie die Veranstaltungen vergangener Semester finden Sie im UniVZ.

Hinweis: Seit dem SoSe 2011 finden Sie alle Lehrmaterialien zu unseren Veranstaltungen bei StudIP.


Cognitive Science Kolloquium

Das Cognitive Science Kolloquium des GEMI für Psychologie wird von den Abteilungen Kognitionswissenschaften und Entscheidungspsychologie (Prof. Michael Waldmann), Kognitive Entwicklungspsychologie (Prof. Hannes Rakoczy) und Psychologie der Sprache (Prof. Nivedita Mani) gemeinsam ausgerichtet.

Das CogSci Kolloquium findet im Rhythmus von 2 Wochen üblicherweise jeweils Donnerstags von 12:15 - 13:45 Uhr in Raum 2.111, Waldweg 26 statt. Abweichungen werden gesondert angekündigt.



Sommersemester 2018

Wintersemester 2017/2018

Sommersemester 2017

Wintersemester 2016/17

Sommersemester 2016

Wintersemester 2015/16

Aktuelle Bachelor- oder Masterarbeiten

Cognitive Science Kolloquium

Cognitive Science Kolloquium


Allgemeine Informationen

Das Cognitive Science Kolloquium des GEMI für Psychologie wird von den Abteilungen Kognitionswissenschaften und Entscheidungspsychologie (Prof. Michael Waldmann), Kognitive Entwicklungspsychologie (Prof. Hannes Rakoczy) und Psychologie der Sprache (Prof. Nivedita Mani) gemeinsam ausgerichtet.

Das CogSci Kolloquium findet im Rhythmus von 2 Wochen üblicherweise jeweils Donnerstags von 12:15 - 13:45 Uhr in Raum 2.111, Waldweg 26 statt. Abweichungen werden gesondert angekündigt.



Weitere Informationen zum Programm sind unter den folgenden Links zu finden.



Wintersemester 2018/19

Sommersemester 2018

Wintersemester 2017/18

Sommersemester 2017

Wintersemester 2016/17

Sommersemester 2016

Wintersemester 2015/16


Für Fragen oder Wünsche steht Ihnen Ben Schmid unter benjamin.schmid@psych.uni-goettingen.de zur Verfügung. Um regelmäßige Ankündigungen von Vorträgen über unseren Verteiler zu erhalten, senden Sie ihm bitte einfach eine Email.

Sommersemester 2016

Programm Sommersemester 2016


14. April 2016:

Arunima Sarin (University College London, UK)

Moral judgements

Moral judgments are integral for the smooth functioning of law and society. Two key factors involved in making moral judgments are intention and outcome. Using information on those two accounts, people blame others for transgressions and praise them for good deeds. In a series of four experiments, we examine how moral judgments are affected when the intention of an agent is incongruent with the outcome. Our results reveal reduced attribution of responsibility and causality for agents’ demonstrating an incongruence. An interesting finding of the experiments is the asymmetry between the evaluations of the two incongruent conditions such that a bad intentioned agents is held less responsible and causal for producing positive outcomes than a good intentioned agent who produces negative outcome. Further, people seem more susceptible to information on intentions in making blame or praise judgments. These exploratory experiments therefore demonstrate a previously unexplored asymmetry in people’s moral judgment of a situation when intentions and outcomes mismatch.

21. April 2016:

Alexandra M. Freund

Focusing on the means or ends of goal pursuit: Adaptiveness and age-related changes in goal focus

While pursuing a goal, people can focus more on the means or the outcome of goal pursuit. I will introduce and provide empirical support for the hypothesis that, with increasing age, adults become more process focused. Turning to the consequences of goal focus, a number of studies suggest that adults profit more from a process focus regarding subjective well-being and successful goal pursuit regardless of age. Taken together, this line of research suggests that a stronger focus on the process vs. the outcome of goal pursuit is (a) related to age, and (b) contributes to successful goal pursuit are stable across adulthood.

12. Mai 2016:

Cilia Witteman

Intuitive vs. deliberate clinical decision making

Whereas in most domains there is a direct link between experience and expertise, this is not so in mental health. I will explain why that is so, and present a study that addresses the question “If the performance of clinicians in mental health does not improve (much) when they gain more experience, what does experience do?” We used vignettes, Mouselabweb, triads and a questionnaire to find out the relations between thinking style preferences (analytical vs. intuitive), decision processes (time, acquisitions) and accuracy.

19. Mai 2016:

Steve Butterfill

Beliefs, Preferences and Goals in Infants’ Mindreading Abilities

Developmental findings on mindreading generate a puzzle. It seems that for many children, there is an age at which:

(a) the child passes some false belief tasks by relying on a model of minds and actions that does incorporate beliefs;

(b) the child fails other false belief tasks because she relies on a model of minds and actions that does not incorporate beliefs; and

(c) the child has a single model of minds and actions.

These three claims are jointly inconsistent so one of them must be false. But researchers disagree about which claim to reject. The construction of minimal theory of mind provides a principled way of rejecting (c), the claim that the child has a single model of minds and actions. While the predictions conjectures about minimal theory of mind generates have so far mostly been confirmed, Michael and Christensen have recently raised a theoretical challenge concerning the ascription of preferences and goals (Psychological Review 123, no. 2 (2016): 219–27. doi:10.1037/rev0000016). In this talk I will review the mindreading puzzle and the theoretical idea that humans have multiple models of minds and actions before introducing, and attempting to reply to, the new challenge about preferences and goals.

07. Juni 2016:

Daniel M. Bernstein

I knew it and so did you! Social cognition across the lifespan

Social cognition permits us to communicate and empathize through our assessment of what others know and feel. Yet, our own knowledge and feelings often limit our ability to take another’s perspective, or know how another feels. Our own knowledge can also limit our ability to recognize our own prior ignorance. These errors occur frequently in children, but also in adults. A challenge for social scientists is to develop tools and methods to study social cognition in children and adults. I will present work exploring social cognition from preschool to old age. Fusing developmental, cognitive, and learning sciences, this research can benefit researchers, teachers, students, policy makers and parents.

23. Juni 2016:

Marco Schmidt

Young Children’s Developing Understanding of Normative Phenomena

The capacity for normativity – our understanding of right and wrong – lies at the core of uniquely human forms of structuring and understanding socio-cultural group life. Over the last couple of years, there has been an increasing interest across disciplines in the early ontogeny of normativity. In this talk, I will first present our theoretical framework for investigating young children’s developing understanding of normativity. I will then report developmental research within this framework that focuses on young children’s application and learning of normative phenomena in social interactions. Our findings suggest that even young children develop normative attitudes toward others’ conduct in a variety of different contexts. Thus, they criticize and protest violations of different kinds of practical norms (e.g., pertaining to moral or conventional matters) in rational and context-dependent ways. And young children seem to quickly make normative inferences based on sparse evidence: They spontaneously infer the presence of a social norm from watching a single action in a context devoid of clear (e.g., linguistic or pedagogical) cues indicating normativity. Moreover, while young children understand some basics of the ontology of norms (e.g., that norms can be established by agreement), preschool children even jointly create norms with peers and understand self-created norms as entities that are not only enforceable, but also changeable. Finally, children’s understanding of normative phenomena is not confined to practical norms, but extends to issues of epistemic normativity: Preliminary findings suggest that by preschool age, children understand something about the social-normative status of knowledge, namely, that we are entitled to claim knowledge about some state of affairs if we have good reason to do so. Together, these findings suggest that normativity is an integral part of human social cognition from early in ontogeny. Hence, young children not only attempt to explain and predict others’ actions in causal-descriptive terms – rather, they are eager to learn about the ways “we” do things and even to co-construct and actively defend our shared normative reality.

29. Juni 2016:

Arielle Borovsky

Beyond lexical bean counting: using semantic structure in vocabulary to understand language learning and processing

Measures of early vocabulary growth often focus on the number of words children know and say, and this enterprise has yielded many insights into the development of early language skills. But early word growth is not random – children tend to learn words that have connections with their existing vocabulary (Hills et al. 2009). This insight suggests that mapping the structure of the early lexicon may illustrate important processes in language learning. I will discuss ongoing work that highlights how accounting for semantic structure of early vocabulary knowledge can lend insights into language processing and word learning. I will first describe recent studies that track real-time lexical recognition of known and novel words as a function of semantic vocabulary structure. I will then outline a project to develop detailed feature norms for many early-acquired concepts that will facilitate the development of graph-theoretic metrics of early vocabulary structure and discuss potential implications for the development of vocabulary interventions and models of early language acquisition.

07. Juli 2016:

Kristina Musholt

Towards a multi-level account of the social self

In this talk I will argue that the notion of nonconceptual self-consciousness is problematic because it conflates implicitly self-related information and explicit self-representation, where the latter is required for self-consciousness. I will propose that the transition from self-related information implicit in the nonconceptual content of perception and other forms of experience to the explicit representation of the self in conceptual thought arises from a gradual process of self-other-differentiation. Finally, I will sketch some implications of this view for the theory of mind debate.

Wintersemester 2015/16

Programm Wintersemester 2015/2016

3.Dezember 2015:

Angelica Kaufmann (Lichtenbergkolleg, Fellow in the Primate Cognition group)


Joint distal intentions: Who shares what?

The ability to think for cooperating is called Shared Intentionality (Tomasello, 2014, p. 125). Its advocates maintain that this is a distinctively human skill, for humans possess a foundational capacity both to appreciate the content of the intentions of conspecifics, and to share intentions and collaborate on the basis of this appreciation. This equipment provides humans with an over-sophisticated capacity to coordinate joint actions and plans over time. I investigate to what extent such capacity can be observed to emerge in non-human animals as well.

21. Januar 2016:

John Michael (CEU Budapest)


A Teleosemantic perspective on the infant mindreading puzzle

In this talk, I will show how theoretical discussion of recent research on the abilities of infants to represent other agents’ beliefs has been shaped by a descriptivist conception of mental content. The basic idea underlying descriptivism is that the contents of a mental representation are individuated by the set of descriptions with which that representation is associated, and which underpin the role that the representation plays in categorization and in inferential reasoning. It is this idea which underpins the strategy of arguing for the hypothesis that infants are not able to represent beliefs at all by appealing to evidence that they fail to understand some of the ways in which beliefs combine with each other and with other mental states to form other beliefs and/or to guide action. I also show how alternative conceptions of mental content—and in particular Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic approach—make it possible to endorse the view that infants have the ability to represent beliefs while failing to understand some of the ways in which beliefs combine with each other and with other mental states in contributing to inferences and actions. In articulating this view, I will draw upon Millikan’s recently developed notion of ‘unicepts’. Unicepts, according to Millikan, are the basic representational vehicles that underpin our abilities to (re-) identify objects, properties, relations and kinds. When applied to research on mindreading in infancy and early childhood, Millikan’s approach generates fruitful new questions about the development of belief reasoning, and about the functions of belief reasoning in infancy and at different stages of childhood.

4. Februar 2016:

Laura Di Paolo (Lichtenbergkolleg, Fellow in the Primate Cognition group)


The role of Overimitaiton in producing cultural innovations

The odd and apparently useless overimitative behaviour showed by human children has been clarified as the attempt to build a normative domain, or to understand an apparently not intuitive causal connection. But neither of the two explanations has really answered to the question on the role that overimitation has in the evolution of human-like cumulative cultural. In this paper we try to address this question, claiming that in fact it is pivotal for the construction of the cultural accumulation because of its 'structure', and not simply because it allows to keep stored and to share information faithfully .

11. Februar 2016:

Christina Schulze (MPI for Human Development, Berlin)


Statistical Intuitions: Smart Babies, Stupid Adults?

Research has revealed a puzzling discrepancy between infant and adult statistical cognition. Whereas babies seem to be intuitive statisticians, surprisingly capable of statistical learning and inference, adults’ statistical inferences are often found to be inconsistent with the rules of probability theory and statistics. Drawing on research on the description–experience gap in risky choice, we argue that a key factor in understanding this discrepancy is whether statistical inferences are made on the basis of symbolic, abstract descriptions or on the actual experience of statistical information. We suggest that research on probabilistic reasoning across the lifespan needs to consider that experience and symbolic description of the world may engage systematically distinct cognitive processes and thus produce contradictory conclusions about people’s competences.

Wintersemester 2016/17

Programm Wintersemester 2016/17


17. November 2016:

Chris Krupenye (MPI Leipzig)

Do great apes understand others' false beliefs?

Humans operate with a "theory-of-mind" with which they understand that others’ actions are driven not by reality but by beliefs about reality, even when those beliefs are false. Although great apes share with humans many social-cognitive skills, they have repeatedly failed experimental tests of such false belief understanding. Using an anticipatory looking test (originally developed for human infants), we show that three species of great apes reliably look in anticipation of an agent acting on a location where he falsely believes an object to be, even though they themselves know that it is no longer there. These results, we argue, suggest that great apes also operate—at least on an implicit level—with an understanding of false beliefs. I will additionally discuss alternative explanations and important future directions.

24. November 2016:

Sebastian Dörrenberg (Universität Hamburg)

Does the infant really have a Theory of Mind?

We investigated whether early Theory of Mind abilities reflect a unitary ToM capacity. 24-month-olds were tested across different false belief change-of-location paradigms (anticipation, violation-of-expectation, helping). We found unrelated performances and only weak evidence for a ToM competence in infants. Findings are discussed with regard to reality-based versus belief-based processing.

8. Dezember 2016:

Katharina Helming (MPI Leipzig)

A pragmatic solution to the puzzle about early false-belief understanding

The developmental investigation of false-belief understanding has yielded discrepant findings. Evidence stemming from spontaneous-response tasks suggests that pre-verbal infants expect an agent to act in accordance with the content of her true or false belief. However, 3-year-olds fail elicited-response false-belief tasks in which they are asked by an experimenter to predict a mistaken agent’s action. In order to reconcile these differing sets of findings, a pragmatic framework will be articulated. Young children do understand the content of others’ false beliefs, but they are overwhelmed when they must simultaneously make sense of two distinct actions: the instrumental action of a mistaken agent and the experimenter's communicative action. Evidence from two studies will be presented, suggesting in line with this theoretical framework that immature pragmatic abilities, not immature theory-of-mind, underlie 3-year-olds’ difficulties in elicited-response false-belief tasks.


Daniela Avila (Georg-August Universität Göttingen)

Longitudinal study of phonological and semantic priming effects German and Mexican monolingual infants.

Children begin to speak their first words approximately at 12 months old, suggesting that lexical acquisition begins early in childhood. By 18-months, children can recognize a word faster when primed by an image phonologically related to the target word (e.g. dog-door) relative to a phonologically unrelated image (e.g. dog-boat). And by 21-months children begin to develop semantic-associative links between lexical items (e.g. sheep-cow) and prioritise semantic information over colour information in word recognition by 24 months (e.g. children orient faster to an image of a cookie relative to a yellow cup upon hearing the prime banana). However priming studies made to date have a transversal or between groups design. In the current study, we run a longitudinal design to test phonological and semantic priming effects in German and Mexican monolingual infants from 18- to 24-months old. This is the first study, so far, with these characteristics.

7. Februar 2017:

Gil Diesendruck (Bar-Ilan University)

The origins of social concepts

Studies reveal links between adults’ essentialist beliefs about, and attitudes towards, various social categories. Social psychologists argue that this link might result from adults’ understanding of dominance hierarchies, social systems, or social identities. The present developmental studies investigated whether such links derive from fundamental motivations, namely ingroup affiliation and outgroup avoidance. The first studies assessed these questions among Jewish Israeli 5-10 year-olds, in the context of their beliefs and attitudes towards Jews and Arabs. The latter studies looked at these motivations as potentially influencing the very formation of social categories in infancy. Altogether, social essentialism and categorization seem to derive from fundamental affiliative and avoidance motivations, rather than a full-fledged understanding of social structures.

16. Februar 2017:

Josef Perner (Universität Salzburg)

Mental Files Theory of Mind

How do we understand the mind and how do we come to this understanding? I will contrast 3 basic positions that are loosely subsumed under the label of “theory of mind”: the theory that we have a theory about the mind, that we simulate others’ minds on our own mind, and that we assume people act for good reasons (teleology). I propose a cognitive mechanism for how this understanding is implemented using mental files theory. A mental (object) file represents (refers to) a particular object. What is known about the object is registered on that file. Mental files theory of mind assumes that we capture the perspective of another person by having a second, vicarious file of that object. This is required for understanding false beliefs about the object. What one knows about it is recorded on one’s regular file, what the other person believes about it on the vicarious file. The two files are co-referential, because both refer to the same object. I will present evidence for this theory from development and brain imaging. Children’s understanding of false beliefs around 4 years correlates consistently with other tasks involving coreferential files, e.g., identity statements, which express the co-referentiality of two files. Adult versions of these tasks activate a common brain region (posterior supramarginal gyrus). I conclude by arguing that mental file theory is particularly congenial to teleology.

Sommersemester 2017

Programm Sommersemester 2017

04. Mai 2017:

Danielle Matthews (Universität Sheffield)

How children break into language and become interesting talkers within 3 years

Within the first year of life, infants demonstrate the ability to communicate with others using gesture and vocalisations. Soon after, they break into conventional language and begin to use words. Having done so they begin to engage in proto-conversations that others naturally find interesting. The preschool years then form a period of forming and testing out expectations about how language works as a tool for facilitating the interactions they wish to have. By drawing on longitudinal studies of individual differences, corpus-based experiments and a randomized controlled trial, I will discuss how children make these qualitative leaps forward in language development and why a social gradient in language ability emerges around 18 months.

18. Mai 2017:

Eric Schulz (University College London)

Compositional inductive biases in human function learning

Function learning lies at the core of everyday cognition. From learning which stimulus will lead to reward all the way to how other people's intentions influence their actions, almost any task requires the construction of mental representations that map inputs to outputs. Since the space of such mappings is infinite, inductive biases are necessary to constrain plausible inferences. What is the nature of the human inductive biases over functions? How do people deal with complex functions that are not easily captured by standard learning algorithms? Insight into this question is provided by the observation that many complex functions encountered in the real world can be broken down into compositions of simpler form. We pursue this idea theoretically and experimentally, by first defining a hypothetical compositional grammar for intuitive functions and then investigating whether this grammar quantitatively predicts human learning, pattern completion, and memory and change detection performance. We end by speculating that compositionality is a necessary requirement for intelligent behaviour.

22. Juni 2017:

Christina Bergmann (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris)

Input variability in daily life: Does it matter who talks to infants?

In the last decades it has become clear that the speech input infants receive in daily life crucially shapes their individual paths into language: divergences in both quantity and quality of speech provided measurable individual differences on the levels of phonological processing and lexicon development. However, those studies typically focus on one main caregiver, whereas most infants grow up in much richer environments where multiple people interact with them and provide speech input. The presence of multiple speakers introduces variation on all linguistic levels, including those that are early milestones in languages acquisition, namely phonology and the lexicon. Predictions generated by concurrent theories (and backed by a few laboratory studies) cover all possible scenarios: It might be better to learn from fewer people to avoid confusion, more input speakers could be beneficial because infants are discovering abstract units in the speech signal earlier, or speaker differences might simply be irrelevant and infants ignore them. In short, speaker variability has different effects depending on the linguistic level considered and varying as a function of infant age (and thus presumably linguistic proficiency).

Wintersemester 2017/18

Programm Wintersemester 2017/18

19. Oktober 2017:

Sarah Beck (University of Birmingham) - organisiert im Rahmen der Research Training Group 2070: Understanding Social Relationships

Thinking about what might have been: the development of children’s counterfactual thinking

Adults often think about 'what might have been' and experience counterfactual emotions, most commonly regret, as a result of this. In this talk I will present data that suggests that counterfactual thinking has a protracted development in childhood and (in part) relies on development of executive functions. Among the many types of imaginative thought, counterfactual thinking is special in the relation it holds with reality. When speculating about what might have been, individuals must avoid dwelling on the real world and yet also generate closely matched alternatives that are relevant to real experiences and choices. I will review data suggesting that managing this relation makes specific cognitive demands in development, which may or may not persist in the adult system. I will also explore whether children, like adults, spontaneously infer aspects of the real world on hearing counterfactuals.

09. November 2017:

Josef Perner (Universität Salzburg) - gemeinsam organisiert mit dem Leibniz ScienceCampus

Mental Files Development: Theory of Mind and Spatial Cognition

Mental files theory of development can explain why seemingly unrelated tasks like understanding identity statements (the teacher is Susi’s mother) and understanding belief (Max thinks his chocolate is in its old location) develop together. Recent data suggest that this commonality breaks up for spatial reasoning. A plausible explanation is that spatial information about one’s environment is represented in analogue spatial models rather than on files for individual objects. This eliminates young children’s problem with identity in some spatial reasoning tasks. Whereas, beliefs about spatial relations are encoded on object files rather than spatial models of another person’s perspective. Therefore, spatial reasoning problems with someone else’s belief about an object’s location persist.

14. Dezember 2017:

Ian Apperly (University of Birmingham)

Why are there gaps between mindreading competence and performance?

We know that adults have the competence to mindread – to represent the beliefs, desires and intentions of others - and there is evidence that at least some mindreading is performed with a significant degree of automaticity. Why, then, do we sometimes appear not to mindread successfully, and why do some people seem better at this than others? I will argue that much mindreading occurs spontenaously rather than automatically. Spontaneous mindreading does not require explicit prompting, but is conditional on motivation and on the availability of sufficient cognitive resources. I will also argue that whether mental states are inferred automatically, spontaneously, or under instruction, there is no guarantee that this information will be integrated to guide ongoing behaviour, in social interaction or communication. Such integration also requires motivation and cognitive resources. The need for motivation and cognitive resources opens the door to predictable patterns of variable performance in mindreading, both within and between individuals. Finally, I will argue that some mindreading requires uncertain, “abductive” inferences, which are likely to highly depend on familiarity with the situation in which the inference is made, and therefore variable within and between individuals in different contexts and cultures.

11. Januar 2018:

Azzurra Ruggeri (MPI für Bildungsforschung)

Ecological learning: How children adapt their active learning strategies to achieve efficiency.

How do young children learn so much about the world so efficiently? This talk presents the results of recent studies investigating theoretically and empirically how children actively seek information in their physical and social environments as evidence to test and dynamically revise their hypotheses and theories over time. In particular, it will focus on how children adapt their active learning strategies, such as question-asking and explorative behavior, in response to the task characteristics, to the statistical structure of the hypothesis space, and to the feedback received. Such adaptiveness and flexibility is crucial to learn in situations of uncertainty, when testing alternative hypotheses, making decisions, drawing causal inferences and solving categorisation tasks.

20. Februar 2018:

Daniel Bernstein (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Kanada)

Social cognition across the lifespan

Abstract folgt bald.

Programm Sommersemester 2018

10. Juli 2018:

Angie Johnston & Mark Sheskin (Yale University)
Achtung: Die Vorträge finden irregulär von 14 Uhr bis 15.30 Uhr im Hörsaal des DPZ (Kellnerweg 4) statt und werden gemeinsam mit dem Leibniz WissenschaftsCampus und der Research Training Group 2070: Understanding Social Relationships organisiert.

What can dogs teach us about human learning?

Although some species transmit simple behaviors between group members, humans have a unique ability to transfer entire domains of cultural knowledge (e.g., fire-building, fishing, and theoretical physics) across individuals and generations. In this talk, I compare human learning to that of dogs to investigate which aspects of human learning support our uniquely complex culture. More broadly, I discuss why dogs are an ideal species for investigating unique aspects of human learning because they are one of few species that demonstrates human-like sensitivity to social cues, such as pointing and eye gaze.

New Directions In Online Child Data Collection

Over the past decade, the internet has become an important platform for many types of psychology research, especially research with adult participants on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. More recently, developmental researchers have begun to explore how online studies might be conducted with infants and children. In this talk, I describe multiple approaches for collecting developmental data over the internet, including [1] platforms developed (in parallel by multiple researcher teams) that are entirely delivered by computer, and [2] a platform I have developed (TheChildLab.com) that involves a live video chat interaction with a researcher. I report replications of classic results in the developmental literature, and end by discussing current and future research into new topics, including the potential for large-scale cross-cultural and longitudinal research.

Programm Wintersemester 2018/2019

Programm Wintersemester 2018/19

17. Januar 2019:

Ralph Hertwig (MPI für Bildungsforschung)

Bitte beachten Sie: Der Vortrag wird im Rahmen der Research Training Group 2070 organisiert & findet zur üblichen Zeit des Cognitive Science Kolloquiums im Waldweg 26, Raum 2.111, statt.

Experience and Description: Exploring Two Paths to Knowledge

Experience and description are powerful ways of learning and adaptation. Recently, evidence has shown that these can imply systematically distinct cognitions and behaviors. However, there has been little integrative conceptual work. Drawing on different lines of research, we characterize experience and description, sketch the factors that influence learning from them, and suggest how to reconcile previously disparate research. We propose that much can be gained by studying the behavioral, cognitive, and hedonic implications of description- and experience-based learning in parallel.