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Cognitive Development Laboratory at UC-San Diego
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Research on thinking, learning, and communication of infants and children.
Research on thinking, learning, and communication of infants and children.

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Really important topic!
Please join us for a fascinating and timely lecture on Science Denialism in America with Dr.+Michael Stamatikos, Assistant Professor at +OhioStateNewark. This lecture is hosted by the American Chemical Society and streamed online by +Science on Google+. Feel free to post your questions on the event post. See below for more details.

Link to event: http://columbus.sites.acs.org/meetingnotice.htm

Title: A Modern Reprise of the Dark Ages? The Socioeconomic and Geopolitical Consequences of Science Denialism in America

Dr. Michael Stamatikos
Department of Physics, Department of Astronomy &
Center for Cosmology & AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP)
The Ohio State University (OSU) at Newark

Abstract: We live in an Information Age that is defined by ever increasing computational benchmarks, which further enable discoveries in traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. However, average cell phones with more computing power than all of NASA circa 1969 are bluntly juxtaposed with a rapidly eroding national capacity for accepting unbiased scientific results. Why is the first nation to reach the Moon scientifically regressing towards the Dark Ages? Although there are several contributing factors, Science Denialism is playing a major role in this disturbing national trend. Science Denialism is the irrational denial of otherwise conclusive scientific evidence, solely based upon a perceived conflict with antecedent political, economic and/or religious worldviews, which results in a selective distortion of scientific understanding. The conflation of skepticism with denialism leads to ambiguous inferences regarding the nature of consensus amongst scientists and provides a historical context for the apparent verisimilitude of pseudoscience, which some have attempted to include into academic curricula. In that regard, I’ll give an astrophysicists’ perspective on common topics such as: evolution, climate change, intelligent design and young Earth creationism, which are periodically the subjects of high-profile public “debates”. This national regression is further exacerbated by a STEM educational crisis and rampant scientific illiteracy/innumeracy amongst the electorate and its appointed government officials, which systematically obstructs our ability to formulate and implement evidence-based policies with bipartisan support. The resulting political dissonance resonates in cyber echo chambers and is further amplified in an era of the 24-hour cable news cycle – especially in a presidential election year. But what is science? How is it done? How do we “know” things? Why is it important? How can we combat this internal threat? Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. As practitioners of science, we need to help each other understand on all levels, which means enhancing the quality and content of information when communicating our results, their implications and the scientific process, via education and public outreach. Science is not an absolute collection of facts to be memorized, but rather it can be thought of as the art of asking the right question(s) - this distinction is paramount. The scientific method allows for a statistical analysis of different models, whose selective predictions are confronted with independent observations, thus allowing for an evolving empirical understanding of Nature. Critical thinking and analytical reasoning are ubiquitous problem solving skills that are also crucial characteristics of an educated citizenry, which is essential to a thriving democracy and national security. Most importantly, we’ll need to collaborate with science advocates embedded within the insular communities that harbor each particular strand of Science Denialism. If left unchecked, Science Denialism threatens to cripple our long term national economy, short-change future generations of crucial self-investments in our education system and impede our ability to compete as a world leader in STEM research.

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New paper from our lab showing sources of mu-suppression (EEG correlate of mirror-neuron activity) in toddlers while watching their mom's actions. First author Yu Liao is now faculty at Soochow Univ.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811915001561

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Please join us on 3/4 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.+Laura Wagner, Associate Professor of Psychology at +The Ohio State University and director of the Developmental Language and Cognition Lab. Dr. Wagner studies how children acquire language, and in particular, how they learn about meaning. Her research has looks at various dimensions of meaning, including children's understanding of temporal and event semantics (especially the linguistic category of aspect), and their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register. She conducts her studies at her lab on OSU's campus, and also at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (+COSI). We will enable the Q & A app prior to the HOA so feel free to posts your questions on the event post or by using the app. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/la3xYa 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/CduTn0 
Buckeye Language Network: http://goo.gl/YA6dNW 

Relevant Readings:
Wagner, L., Clopper, C. G., & Pate, J. (2014).  Children’s perception of dialect variation. Journal of Child Language, 41, 1062 – 1084. http://goo.gl/aFFmPc

Clopper, C., Rohrbeck, K. L. & Wagner, L. (2013). Perception of talker age by young adults with High-Functioning Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 134 - 146. http://goo.gl/oyf8uD 

Wagner, L. (2010). Acquisition of Semantics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1 (4), 519 - 526. http://goo.gl/8H9rct 

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New book by Dave Moore should be timely and useful -- can't wait to read it!
The Developing Genome - David S. Moore - Oxford University Press
http://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-developing-genome-9780199922345

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Next HOA will be a good one: Dr. Wagner is an expert in child language, and fun to talk with!
Please join us on 3/4 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.+Laura Wagner, Associate Professor of Psychology at +The Ohio State University and director of the Developmental Language and Cognition Lab. Dr. Wagner studies how children acquire language, and in particular, how they learn about meaning. Her research has looks at various dimensions of meaning, including children's understanding of temporal and event semantics (especially the linguistic category of aspect), and their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register. She conducts her studies at her lab on OSU's campus, and also at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (+COSI). We will enable the Q & A app prior to the HOA so feel free to posts your questions on the event post or by using the app. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/la3xYa 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/CduTn0 
Buckeye Language Network: http://goo.gl/YA6dNW 

Relevant Readings:
Wagner, L., Clopper, C. G., & Pate, J. (2014).  Children’s perception of dialect variation. Journal of Child Language, 41, 1062 – 1084. http://goo.gl/aFFmPc

Clopper, C., Rohrbeck, K. L. & Wagner, L. (2013). Perception of talker age by young adults with High-Functioning Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 134 - 146. http://goo.gl/oyf8uD 

Wagner, L. (2010). Acquisition of Semantics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1 (4), 519 - 526. http://goo.gl/8H9rct 

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Interview w/ Scott Johnson from up the road (UCLA) can be watched @ Developmental Science. Interesting stuff!
Please join us on 1/28 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr. Scott Johnson, Professor of Developmental Psychology at UCLA and director of the UCLA +Baby Lab. Dr. Johnson research interests include: cognitive development, perceptual development, visual perception, eye movements, attention, computational modeling, neural foundations of vision and cognition, neurophysiological development, and learning mechanisms. On 1/28 we will be discussing: (1) big issues in perceptual and cognitive development, (2) eye trackers, how they work, and how can they give us insight into the developing mind, and (3) Dr. Johnson’s recent research interests and findings. We will open up the Q & A app prior to the Hangout On Air so feel free to post your questions on the event post or by using the app on the day of the HOA. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Important Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/Fbklji 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/xC0LiV 
Related Article: http://goo.gl/GHfO8B

Image Sources:
http://goo.gl/S5NZ1u  
http://goo.gl/qRDmKQ  
http://goo.gl/sXvoHY 

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Should be interesting!
Please join us on 1/28 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr. Scott Johnson, Professor of Developmental Psychology at UCLA and director of the UCLA +Baby Lab. Dr. Johnson research interests include: cognitive development, perceptual development, visual perception, eye movements, attention, computational modeling, neural foundations of vision and cognition, neurophysiological development, and learning mechanisms. On 1/28 we will be discussing: (1) big issues in perceptual and cognitive development, (2) eye trackers, how they work, and how can they give us insight into the developing mind, and (3) Dr. Johnson’s recent research interests and findings. We will open up the Q & A app prior to the Hangout On Air so feel free to post your questions on the event post or by using the app on the day of the HOA. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Important Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/Fbklji 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/xC0LiV 

Image Sources:
http://goo.gl/S5NZ1u  
http://goo.gl/qRDmKQ  
http://goo.gl/sXvoHY 

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Young people are victimized by bullies at an alarming rate and the consequences have tragic effects on teens, parents, schools and communities. We hope you can join us on 12/4 as we chat with +Dr. Pescara-Kovach's School Violence Prevention and Intervention  about the research on school violence and bullying. Dr. Pescara-Kovach teaches courses in the field of human development as well as graduate level seminars on the causes, consequences, and prevention of school violence. She is co-chair of U.T.’s Anti-Bullying Task Force and author of “School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.” You can learn more about Dr. Pescara-Kovach's research by clicking on the links below.

http://www.utoledo.edu/education/depts/efl/faculty/kovach/index.html 
www.preventingbullying.org
www.oregoncs.orgwww.oregoncs.org 
http://www.utoledo.edu/tlc/bully 

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Cecilia Heyes recently published a brilliant review of so-called "infant morality" research, showing that infants' widely-reported ability to distinguish pro-social from anti-social behavior is an artifact of poor experimental design. Now she has focused on studies purporting to show that infants can infer other people's beliefs -- a claim that many of us who study infants find, let's say, far-fetched. But the claims are popular. because they're startling. Heyes is doing a great service by meticulously taking apart EVERY EXPERIMENT on these topics to show how subtle but systematic flaws in experimental design have lead to possibly bizarre claims about infant cognition.

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This survey puts UCSD at #1. Even though it makes us look good, the methodology is goofy. Although it improves over US News & World Report's absurd method (which heavily weights the ephemeral, self-perpetuating,  circular factor 'reputation'), it's still totally arbitrary: social mobility, service, and research are given equal weight, and each of those factors has a sub-structure that's equally arbitrary. Better idea: Some magazine should collect the data on as many objective criteria as possible, and report them in an interactive web app that allows parents (or recruiters, or whoever) to select whatever criteria are relevant to them, and apply their own weightings. Then each reader could generate their own personally relevant list. Also, just to be a complete data geek: each criterion should be scaled by the distribution of scores, not treated as an equal interval ranking.
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