Director, Berkeley Early Learning Lab
My research focuses on cognitive and language development, from infancy to middle childhood. For the last decade, my collaborators, students, and I have advocated for a new approach to cognitive development, namely rational constructivism. We have argued that human infants begin life with a set of proto-conceptual primitives such as object, number, and agent, and as young learners acquire language, these initial representations are transformed into a format that is compatible with language and propositional thought. We have suggested that three types of learning mechanisms explain both belief revision and genuine conceptual change: (1) Language and symbol learning; (2) Bayesian inductive learning; and (3) Constructive thinking. Lastly, we have argued that infants and children are active learners, and cognitive agency is part and parcel of development. For some representative publications on this view, see Xu (2019, Psychological Review), Fedyk and Xu (2018, Review of Philosophy and Psychology), Denison and Xu (2019, Perspectives on Psychological Science), Xu and Kushnir (2013, Current Directions in Psychological Science), and Xu and Kushnir (2012, Rational Constructivism in Cognitive Development – an edited volume).
Hi! My name is Emma, and I am the lab manager of the Berkeley Early Learning Lab. I will be finishing up my undergraduate degree this Fall at UC Berkeley, and have been working as an RA at BELL since 2018. I also have experience as an RA in the Language and Cognition lab under Professor Mahesh Srinivasan. My interests include developmental psychopathology, ASD research, and social psychology. Currently, I am working on a project collaborating with researchers at Cornell about how children think about the collective greater good. In my free time, I enjoy musical theatre, hiking, finding new coffee shops, and spending time with my dogs!
My background is in linguistics, and as a graduate student in psychology, I am interested in language as a cognitive and social system. I am interested in what language learners can tell us about the composition of meaning, what their performance on linguistic tasks reveals about their conceptions of language itself, and the implications of those developing linguistic assumptions for methodologies in the field. In the Xu Lab, I am currently working on a project exploring eavesdropping as a compensatory active learning strategy. I am grateful to be funded by the Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Study.
Hi, this is Yuan from the Berkeley Early Learning Lab. I’m mainly interested in how infants and young children actively gather information about the physical and the social world and make inferences, update beliefs, and form theories on the basis of self-generated evidence.
Hi, my name is Rongzhi Liu. I’m interested in how young children learn from the social world and learn about the social world. Particularly, I’m curious about how children reason and infer about other people and social groups. I’m also interested in how children actively gather information from the social world to help them learn.
Visiting Researcher, Post-Doctorate
Postbaccalaureate for premed, California State University, Fullerton
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ZI LIN SIM
Psychologist and Autism Therapist, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)
Assistant Professor, Technische Universität München (Germany)
Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Germany)
Associate Professor at Department of Psychology, Beijing Forestry University (China)
Associate Professor, Univeristy of Waterloo (Canada)
Science Journalist, Seattle US
VINCENT G. BERTHIAUME
Tech Lead at Audioworks Technologies, Montreal, Canada
Senior Research Manager at Women's Health Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada
Associate Professor, Concordia University (Canada)
Associate Professor, Univeristy of California, Davis
Associate Professor, Ryerson University (Canada)