Events / MindCORE Seminar: Julia Leonard and Colin Twomey

MindCORE Seminar: Julia Leonard and Colin Twomey

January 25, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Julia Leonard
MindCORE Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Pennsylvania


How social evidence affects persistence in early childhood


Children’s persistence in the face of challenge is central to learning. But how do young children learn when and how to deploy effort? This talk explores how social evidence impacts children’s decisions about effort allocation. First, I demonstrate that 15-month-olds can generalize the value of persistence from watching how hard an adult tries to reach a goal. Next, I show that young children not only integrate information about adults’ actions, but also about their outcomes (success or failure) and testimony, to decide how hard to try on a novel task. Children persist the longest when adults practice what they preach and it pays off: saying they value effort in conjunction with demonstrating effortful success on their own task Collectively this work shows that young children integrate various forms of social evidence to rationally deploy effort when they think it will pay off. I will end with a discussion of future directions, including an effort to quantify and explain within and between subject day-to-day fluctuations in persistent behavior.



Colin Twomey
MindCORE Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Pennsylvania


Talking about color: from individual perception to collective dynamics


Languages around the world vary considerably in the number of words they use to describe the colors that we see. Yet the ways in which basic color words partition color space is remarkably constrained. Why should there so often be simple and intelligible mappings between the color words of completely unrelated languages? This classic question about language and color offers an excellent model system for understanding cultural evolution more generally. In this talk I will describe some of my preliminary work to date on the perceptual and behavioral principles driving the cultural evolution of color words and its connection to the mathematics of compression.


A pizza lunch will be served at 11:45am. The seminar will begin at 12:00pm.