We often use our imaginations to think about how the world could be different. We speculate about ‘what might have been’ when things go wrong: for example, “If only I had worked harder, I would have passed the exam.” Although young children are prolific imaginers when they create pretend worlds, they struggle to think counterfactually. I will present studies charting the development of children’s counterfactual thinking and how it is related to other cognitive processes. I will explore the emergence of counterfactual emotions, such as regret, in middle childhood. Finally, I will present research that explores what this type of imaginary thinking is for, and how developmental research can inform this question.
Sarah Beck is Reader in Cognitive Development at the University of Birmingham. Having completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy she moved to Birmingham to be a research assistant, where (surprisingly) she has worked ever since. She researches children's thinking about possibility and time, their problem solving, and questions whether adults' thinking in these areas is as sophisticated as we might like to think.
Dates & times
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|26 Jan 2016||6:00pm - 7:30pm|
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