Saturday, 25 February 2012

Are babies super? Performance, competence and infant habituation

Are babies really more competent than we give them credit? (No.)
Developmental psychology is filled with studies that claim to show the hidden abilities of babies. The claim is that babies come pre-packaged with all kinds of knowledge and skills that provides them with the foot in the door they need to learn about the world. Babies are limited in their ability to demonstrate this knowledge, however, because of their immature bodies and inability to control these well. In the language of the field, there is hidden competence concealed by problems with performance, and researchers (such as Liz Spelke and Renee Baillargeon) are interested in finding ways to reveal this hidden competence.

At IU we referred to such studies as 'super baby' studies, because they purported to show that infants were remarkably competent and knowledgeable about the world. Besides the rampant dualism of 'mind' being concealed by 'body', these studies are good examples of a common problem (the psychologist's fallacy) in psychological research, one that a rigorous application of embodied cognition helps fix.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Newton International Fellowships

If you are looking for a post-doc opportunity in the UK, and are trained in perception, action or embodied cognition type research, then this is an excellent funding stream and we are both very interested in hearing from you to come and work in our labs. Please feel free to contact us if interested, and please spread the word to other interested parties!

A new round of Newton International Fellowships - an initiative to fund research collaborations and improve links between UK and overseas researchers - has now opened.

The Newton International Fellowships are funded by the British Academy and the Royal Society and aim to attract the most promising early-career post-doctoral researchers from overseas in the fields of the humanities, the natural, physical and social sciences. The Fellowships enable researchers to work for two years at a UK research institution with the aim of fostering long-term international collaborations.

Newton Fellows will receive an allowance of £24,000 to cover subsistence and up to £8,000 to cover research expenses in each year of the Fellowship. A one-off relocation allowance of up to £2,000 is also available.

In addition, Newton Fellows may be eligible for follow-up funding of up to £6,000 per annum for up to 10 years following completion of the Fellowship to support activities which will help build long term links with the UK.

The scheme is open to post-doctoral (and equivalent) early-career researchers working outside the UK who do not hold UK citizenship.

Applications are to be made via the Royal Society’s online application system which is available at The closing date for applications is Monday 16 April 2012.

Further details are available from the Newton International Fellowships website: