An important part of cognitive development is coming to think in culturally normative ways. Children learn the right names for objects, proper functions for tools, appropriate ways to categorize, and the rules for games. In each of these cases, what makes a given practice normative is not naturally given. There is not necessarily any objectively better or worse way to do any of these things. Instead, what makes them correct is that people agree on how they should be done, and each of these practices therefore has an important conventional basis. <p> The chapters in this volume highlight the fact that successful participation in practices of language, cognition, and play depends on children's ability to acquire representations that other members of their social worlds share. Each of these domains poses problems of identifying normative standards and achieving coordination across agents. This volume brings together scholars from diverse areas in cognitive development to consider the psychological mechanisms supporting the use and acquisition of conventional knowledge. <p> This is the 115th volume of the quarterly report series <i>New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development</i>.
1. Conventionality and Cognitive Development: Learning to Think the Right Way (Charles W. Kalish, Mark A. Sabbagh
Language, object categorization, tool use, and game playing are all characterized by conventionality, which has important implications for describing development in these fundamental domains.
2. Conventionality and Contrast in Language and Language Acquisition (Eve V. Clark)
When acquiring word meaning, syntax, and phonology, young children show evidence that they are especially motivated to acquire conventional forms that are provided by experts in their linguistic environment.
3. How an Appreciation of Conventionality Shapes Early Word Learning (Mark A. Sabbagh, Annette M. E. Henderson)
An assumption of conventionality provides children a basis for extending knowledge of words to other speakers, avoiding errors they might encounter in everyday speech, and learning the meanings of new words.
4. Pragmatic and Prescriptive Aspects of Children?s Categorization (Charles W. Kalish)
When learning how to categorize, children face the general problem that conventionalized domains involve flexible, optional activities as well as normative, standardized practices.
5. Play, Games, and the Development of Collective Intentionality (Hannes Rakoczy)
Through children?s play, researchers can gain insight into the developmental trajectory of children?s ability to negotiate agreements about the right way to share goals and intentions in a given setting.
6. The Role of Information About "Convention," "Design," and "Goal" in Representing Artificial Kinds (Tim P. German, Danielle Truxaw, Margaret Anne Defeyter)
When determining the correct function of a given artifact, children seem to weigh information about the creator?s intended use more heavily than other sources of information, including community agreement.
7. Conventionality in Family Conversations About Everyday Objects (Maureen A. Callanan, Deborah R. Siegel, Megan R. Luce)
During everyday conversations in various contexts, parents subtly promote an understanding of conventionality by providing young children with information that particular ways of using words or artifacts are more normative than others.