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Abstract: Children’s curiosity is one of the strongest predictors of early learning outcomes. Despite the importance of curiosity in early learning, we know very little about the factors that shape curiosity during the first five years of life, when individual differences are first emerging. In this talk, I will present two experiments that explore the developmental building blocks of curiosity and the factors that shape them. The first experiment measures sources of individual differences in curiosity during infancy by exploring the social factors that predict infants’ curiosity-driven behaviors, both in the lab and in everyday contexts. The second experiment, using an explore-exploit task with children from the United States and Turkey, tests whether an uncertainty-focused mindset intervention (delivered via a joint book reading task) can boost children’s curiosity. Together, this work will provide new insights into the social influences on curiosity across early development.

Speaker: Kelsey Lucca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Emerging Minds Lab (emergingmindslab.org) at Arizona State University. Her research investigates cognitive development during infancy and early childhood, with a focus on the development of curiosity, social cognition, communication, and problem solving. She is a lead investigator on the international "ManyBabies" project (manybabies.github.io/) and co-director of the Early Childhood Cognition Research Group (childcognition.org). Dr. Lucca's research on early cognitive development and curiosity has been recognized by the Early Career Award from the Society of Research in Child Development, as well as the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award (FP 2047194), “Cultivating Curiosity to Promote Learning and Discovery”.

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