Skeptics in the Pub, Reading

Thinking and drinking, humour and debate. Monthly talks and challenging discussions for people interested in science, critical thinking, evidence-based policy, or just life-long learning. Myths are debunked, accepted wisdom is challenged, new discoveries are celebrated.

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Why children are great pretenders, poor problem solvers, and sometimes less clever than crows

Sarah Beck

Monday, August 17 2015 at 7:30PM

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11 Castle St

Sarah Beck

What's the talk about?

Young children are excellent imaginers, coming up with all kinds of creative and weird worlds. But what is the imagination really for? Adults use their imaginations to solve problems, but children sometimes struggle with this. In this talk, Sarah Beck will explore how children start to use their imaginations for creative problem solving, using examples of children’s thinking about ‘how things might have been different’ and comparing children’s tool-making to that of clever non-human animals.

Sarah Beck is Reader in Cognitive Development at the University of Birmingham. She researches children's thinking about possibility and time, and questions whether adults' thinking in these areas is as sophisticated as we might like to think. She teaches an undergraduate course that compares the cognitive abilities of human children with non-human animals.