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Karen Adolph (New York University)

How Behavior Develops

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Abstract: Behavior is everything we do. It is the outcome of (and provides the input for) perception, cognition, emotion, and other psychological processes. With age and experience, infant behavior becomes more flexible, adaptive, and functional. How does behavior develop? In the course of everyday activity, infants acquire immense amounts of time-distributed, variable, error-filled practice for every type of foundational behavior researchers have measured. Practice is self-motivated, spontaneous, and frequently not goal directed. Formal models suggest that infants’ natural practice regimen is optimally suited for building a flexible behavioral system to cope with a continually changing body in an ever-changing world. I conclude with a proposal that open video sharing will speed progress toward understanding behavior and its development and increase scientific transparency and reproducibility.


Karen AdolphKaren AdolphJulius Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, and Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University
SFI Host: 
Susan Fitzpatrick