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 Gwyneth, and I am the lab manager of the Berkeley Early Learning Lab. In 2019, I graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science in Brain & Cognitive Sciences, and a Minor in Linguistics. I am interested in psycholinguistics and language acquisition, and developmental psychology in general. I have worked in developmental and cognition labs at the University of Rochester, the University of Notre Dame, and Yale University. Outside of academia, I enjoy writing fiction, playing video games, 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)
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VINCENT G. BERTHIAUME
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Associate Professor, Univeristy of California, Davis
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