The social significance of language: How language shapes children’s social attitudes and transmits conceptual information


Jasmine DeJesus

(University of Michigan)

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Date: January 11, 2017


Language is multifaceted – not only does language facilitate learning by transmitting information between individuals, but it also marks social groups in nuanced ways. In this talk, I will review research I have conducted that examines children’s developing social attitudes about people who speak in different languages and accents (including children from diverse linguistic backgrounds), children’s beliefs about the relation between cultural groups and food, and their propensity to learn about food from messages provided by other people. My most recent work investigates children’s social reasoning in the context of food, a domain that has been understudied by developmental psychologists but has important implications for revealing the mechanisms underlying early cognitive development. This work also addresses pressing public health concerns, namely the development of obesity.

Created: Thursday, January 12th, 2017