Developing Models of the World 2021

- Online -

17 - 21 May 2021

Venue: Lorentz Center@Online

If you are invited or already registered for this workshop, you have received login details by email.

This is the rescheduled workshop of 2020.

The workshop “Developing Models of the World” is concerned with fundamental questions about the development of human cognition. The aim of the workshop is to explore a diverse range of developmental questions through the lens of different computational theories and formalisms; we will specifically focus on predictive processing and rational constructivism/probabilistic program induction.  

While computational theories and development share a long history of mutually informing one another, recent progress in both fields makes this an exciting time to consider again what they have to say to each other. We see both fields as enriching one another; developmental research has produced an invaluable set of empirical findings on different aspects of human cognition and computational methods are indispensable when it comes to consolidating these findings into formal theories. Rational constructivism is one example where computational methods have deepened our understanding of developmental processes and helped formalise developmental theories. Predictive processing is a computationally grounded theory of cognition as well, however – unlike rational constructivism – predictive processing is not a developmental theory (yet!). The computational formalisms and theoretical commitments of these two approaches, one of development and the other of cognition more generally, will be examined throughout the workshop with the aim of conceiving a developmental framework that builds on both theories.  

The core of the workshop will be formed by questions about the building blocks of models of cognition and their subsequent development, such as: How do the structure and functionality of models in infants differ from the structure and functionality of adult models? What are the necessary computational primitives that get learning started in infancy? What learning mechanisms allow for development of cognitive models of the world? To what extent does structure learning in early childhood depend upon evolution and cultural niche construction? In addition, the workshop will explore broader topics, including what makes a theory developmentally sound, and why is it important that cognitive capacities are developable.  



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