The Cognitive Development Society conference is comprised of pre-conference workshops on Thursday October 12th followed by two days of conference proceedings.  The conference will include two plenary speakers, invited symposia, contributed symposia and oral papers as well as poster sessions.

Invited Plenary Speakers

Susan Carey

Susan Carey

Harvard University

Susan Carey is the Henry A. Morss Jr. and Elizabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, where she co-founded, with Elizabeth Spelke, the Laboratory for Developmental Studies in 2001.  She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1972, and taught at MIT (24 years) and NYU (5 years) before moving to Harvard.  Her research concerns the origin of human concepts, over evolutionary time, over historical time, and mainly in ontogenesis.  The fruits of her investigations, from her PhD dissertation up through 2009, were synthesized in her 2009 book, The Origin of Concepts, which was awarded the Eleanor Maccoby Prize for the best book in Developmental Psychology from APA in 2010, and the CDS book award in 2011.  Her research has been honored by election to the National Academy of Science, The British Academy, the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Soceithy, as well as being awarded  the Rumelhart Prize.  The honor that means the most to her is the 2013 APA Division 7 Mentor Award.


Relations Between Conceptual Development and Executive Function:  In Dialog with Jean Piaget

The adult human conceptual repertoire is a unique phenomenon on earth; non-human animals lack most of the 500,000 concepts lexicalized as single words in the Oxford English dictionary.  Babies and animals cannot think about democracy, atoms, cancer, global warming, rational number or any of an infinitude of thoughts composed from one or more concepts they lack.  Accounting for the origin of the human conceptual repertoire, over both evolutionary and ontogenetic time is a formidable challenge within the disciplines of developmental psychology and developmental cognitive science—it is no less than the challenge of accounting for conceptual development, and is the locus of modern versions of Piaget’s constructivism.  Another project within the science of cognitive development is characterizing developmental changes within domain general, content neutral representational/computational resources, such as attention, working memory, and executive function, the locus of modern versions of Piaget’s stage theories.  In my talk I will illustrate how these two developmental projects illuminate each other.

Jacquelynne Eccles

Jacquelynne Eccles

University of California, Irvine

Jacquelynne S. Eccles is the Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of California, Irvine and formerly the McKeachie/Pintrich Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Michigan, as well as Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Gender and Achievement Research Program at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.


The role of personal and social identities in academic achievement: The Case of African American Adolescents

In this talk, Dr. Eccles will present the argument that both individual and group differences in something like academic achievement is influenced by both expectations for success and the subjective task value attached to success in challenging task.  Furthermore both individual and group differences in expectations for one’s own likely success and the subjective task value are influenced by the specific contents of one’s personal and social identities. She defines personal identities as those identities that make one unique and social identities as those identities that serve one’s belongingness needs.  To the extent that excelling in academics is part of either one’s personal or social identities, then the probability of engaging the behaviors necessary to excel in academics will be increased.

Dr. Eccles will then summarize the results of a large scale longitudinal study that has followed a population of African American youth from age 12 to age 27.  this summary will focus on processes related to African American Identities, experiences of racial discrimination in school, and developmental changes in academic achievement.

Invited Symposia – Confirmed speakers:

The Relational Mind

Stella Christie, Swarthmore College
Dedre Gentner, Northwestern University
Sue Hespos, Northwestern University
Bethany Rittle-Johnson, Vanderbilt University


The Development of the Imagination

Stephanie Carlson, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Paul Harris, Harvard University
Andrew Shtulman, Occidental College
Marjorie Taylor, University of Oregon