Two guest talks: Dr. Yue Yu and Dr. Yang Yang on “Social Inferences Guide Children’s learning” and “Children’s Emotional Development in Cultural Context”

Speakers: Dr. Yue Yu and Dr. Yang Yang 

Date: Thursday 7 September at 2pm and 3pm 

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 

Title: Social Inferences Guide Children’s learning

Abstract: How do children learn? One feature for young children’s learning is that it is incredibly social: Not only do children learn from what other people say or do; they also draw rich inferences from how others say or do. In this talk I explore the role of social inferences in children’s learning, with examples from two domains—learning from questions and learning from actions. I show that children constantly infer about other’s intentions during social interactions, and these inferences shape how they interpret and learn from the information presented by their social partner. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical contributions to understanding the ontogeny of social learning, and the practical implications for formal and informal education. 

Biography: Dr. Yue Yu received his Bachelor degree from Peking University, China and his PhD from Cornell University, US. He is currently a postdoc researcher in the Computational Cognitive Development Lab and the Cognitive and Data Science Lab in Rutgers University-Newark. Yue’s main research interests are in children’s social cognition and social learning, specifically on the role of social context in children’s learning and imitation. His research employs multiple approaches including empirical experiments, computational modelling, naturalistic observation, second-hand data analysis, and intervention studies. Yue has multiple first-authored publications in top developmental journals such as Child Development and Developmental Psychology, and has successfully applied for research funding from the National Science Foundation of the US.


Title: Children’s Emotional Development in Cultural Context

Abstract: Culture shapes children’s values regarding emotions, and also influences children’s emotion understanding, emotion regulation, and emotional well-being. This talk will first examine the developmental trajectories of children’s emotion understanding. Then she will explore the factors that influence children’s emotional development, such as parent-child conversation, the emotion expression during parent-child interactions, and parents’ reactions to children’s emotions. Finally she will investigate other aspects of socioemotional development that are related to children’s emotion understanding. The moderation role of culture in these relations will be discussed.

Biography: Dr. Yang Yang is a postdoctoral associate in the Computational Cognitive Development Lab in Rutgers University. She is interested in children’s cognitive and emotional development in different cultural contexts. Her graduate work has focused on the developmental patterns, the antecedents, and the consequences of children’s emotional understanding. Her postdoc work employs computational tools to investigate children’s emotion and learning. Originally from Beijing, China, she received her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Peking University in China, her Master of Education from Harvard University, and her PhD from Cornell University. 

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