Illuminating Cognitive Development

Deloache_JudyIn her research on early cognitive development, Judy Deloache examines how young children come to understand the various types of symbolic representations around them. Her research on infants and young children’s understandings of pictures, models, and replica objects shows that they have difficulty understanding the relation between a symbolic object and what it stands for. Failing to achieve what she refers to as dual representation, infants and toddlers often treat symbolic objects as if they were real, trying, for example, to lift a picture of an object off the page on which it appears. She recently documented a new phenomenon called scale errors, in which young children treat a miniature object as though it were its much larger counterpart, trying, for example, to sit in a tiny chair or get into a miniature car. DeLoache is a recipient of a special 25th anniversary APS William James Fellow Award for her significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology.