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Seminar: 11/4 - Liz Spelke, Harvard University

11:00 to 12:30 PM      at:  5101 Tolman Hall

Natural geometry

How do human beings--finite devices that connect to the world through sensors and effectors--conceive of lines that are infinitely long and imperceptibly thin? Converging studies of human infants, non-human animals, and human children and adults varying in culture and education suggest that abstract geometrical concepts build on cognitive systems with many of the properties of perceptual systems. These "core systems" are limited in their application and their resolution, but each captures some geometrical information. By combining the information from these systems, children may construct their first abstract concepts of Euclidean geometry.