Deborah Kelemen

Professor
Director: Child Cognition Laboratory

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My primary research area is cognitive development. Current interests focus on children’s developing conceptions of the living and non-living natural world, understanding of intentional agency and reasoning about artifacts and object function. Other projects are exploring the development of social categories and the role of parental input in children’s prescientific theory-formation.

My primary research area is cognitive development. Current interests focus on children’s developing conceptions of the living and non-living natural world, understanding of intentional agency and reasoning about artifacts and object function. Other projects are exploring the development of social categories and the role of parental input in children’s prescientific theory-formation.

In the Media

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  • See Jane Evolve: Picture Books Explain Darwin

    April 19, 2014

    Wall Street Journal (subscription required) Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences Evolution by natural selection is one of the best ideas in all of science. It predicts and explains an incredibly wide range of biological facts. But only 60% of Americans believe evolution is true… View full article featuring expert Deborah Kelemen

  • Are you smarter than a 5-year-old? New research shows kindergarteners can learn more

    April 10, 2014

    KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences George Brown Elementary in San Bernadino is a glossy new school: Construction finished just two years ago. And what’s going on in the classrooms is just as cutting edge… Expert quote: “I think that we are generally underestimating, really, their capacity to understand some […]

  • How challenging kids earlier means earlier success

    March 22, 2014

    Deseret News Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences Two new studies show children learn advanced material much earlier than previously believed. Both studies also indicate that if educators do not teach the more challenging content, students are at a disadvantage… Expert quote: “Imagine what a curriculum spread over several years might do for scientific […]

  • Study Shows Kids Understand Complex Science

    March 15, 2014

    Lab Manager Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences It turns out kids can understand complex scientific concepts – like natural selection – far beyond what anyone would have expected… Expert quote: “It shows that kids are a lot smarter than we ever give them credit for.  They can handle a surprising degree of complexity […]

  • Even Young Kids Can Understand How Evolution Works

    March 13, 2014

    Business Insider Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences “The history of developmental psychology shows that the age at which children can reach cognitive milestones depends in no small part on the cleverness of the methods used to measure their ability.”… Expert quote: “Adaptation by natural selection is a core mechanism of evolution. It is […]

  • Have we misjudged kids’ ability to learn science?

    March 12, 2014

    Futurity News Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences It turns out kids can understand complex scientific concepts—like natural selection—far beyond what anyone would have expected, a new study suggests. Boston University psychologist Deborah Kelemen and colleagues created a 10-page picture storybook about a group of fictional mammals with long trunks called pilosas. Then they read […]

  • Evolution Is Coming To A Storybook Near You

    March 10, 2014

    NPR “Cosmos & Culture Blog” Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences Young children are notorious for their surfeit of why questions, often directed at aspects of the biological world… Expert quote: “There have been a slew of education studies over the past 30 years indicating that adults don’t tend to understand adaptation even after instruction. This […]

  • Intuitions of Our Immortality: Visions of Life Before Conception

    February 3, 2014

    Pacific Standard Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences Natalie Emmons, College of Arts & Sciences We’ve all ruminated about the possibility of life after death. But what about the notion of life before birth—or even conception?… Expert quote: Emmons – “Even kids who had biological knowledge about reproduction still seemed to think that they […]

  • Human Belief in Soul is ‘Innate’, Say Scientists

    February 2, 2014

    International Business Times (UK) Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences Natalie Emmons, College of Arts & Sciences We are born with a predisposition to believe in an immortal soul, according to a recent scientific study… Expert quotes: Kelemen – “This work shows that it’s possible for science to study religious belief. At the same […]

  • Are we hard-wired to believe we’re IMMORTAL? Belief that we are eternal is part of human nature and develops during childhood

    January 30, 2014

    Daily Mail Deborah Kelemen, College of Arts & Sciences Natalie Emmons, College of Arts & Sciences People across the world, regardless of their religion or culture, believe that humans are immortal, according to research. A new study has shed some light on people’s beliefs that a person’s soul or essence transcends the physical body’s death… Expert […]

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