Home > Events > CogSci Colloqium: Luca Bonatti (Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)
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CogSci Colloqium: Luca Bonatti (Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

Time: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: 
Bioscience Research Building 1103

Title: Precursors of logical reasoning in preverbal infants

Abstract: Infants possess remarkable capacities to process complex events and rationally modify hypotheses about them facing inconsistent evidence. These capacities suggest the existence of elementary logical representations for framing and pruning hypotheses, independent of natural language.  However, little is known about infants' abilities to reason, let alone reason logically. I will present evidence that when they witness a scene not previously experienced, infants reason about it by applying basic logical principles. I will argue that such inferences are used to build strategies to inspect the scenes and make inferences to enrich their knowledge. I will present data about the behavioral correlates of this inferential processes in infants and adults, focusing on the case of disjunctive reasoning.

Bio: Luca Bonatti is an ICREA Research Professor in the Center for Brain and Cognition Department at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona.

He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Mind at Rutgers University, under the supervision of Jerry Fodor. He has been full professor at the University of Nantes, associate professor at the University of Paris 8, and at SISSA/ISAS, Trieste, and visiting professor at the Universities of Budapest, Illes Balears and New York. He is interested in reasoning, language learning, imagination of physical events and infant cognition.

He has promoted a dual model of language acquisition, giving evidence that lexical learning and grammatical learning recruit different acquisition mechanisms. In infant cognition, his work focuses on early abilities of reasoning about the future, and on how basic categories affect infants' organization of experience. Recently, with his collaborators, he has proposed a novel theory of how infants reason about uncertain events and on how their reasoning is affected by what they experience. He has tried to show that infants have intuitions about the future that are not based on their experience of the past, but on their logical abilities of analyzing current events.