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  1. Sep 2023
    1. Researchers studying intuitive theories have usually tried to discover a typical child’s knowledge of familiar causal generalizations, and to track changes in that knowledge as children grow older. We can ask whether children of a particular age understand important causal relationships within domains such as psychology, biology and physics. But if we want to understand the fundamental mechanisms of causal learning we also need to give children causal problems that they haven’t already solved. So researchers have given children controlled evidence about new causal systems to see what kinds of causal conclusions they will draw.

      This structure of intuitive theories illustrates how every child's learning ability is directly affected by both nurture and nature. Learning causality from probability suggests that children are able to learn beyond the immediate consequences of their actions. Children learn from the experiences of others just as much as they learn from first hand experiences and they develop understanding and knowledge from both. Therefore the environments that the children are exposed to can inhibit or prohibit their abilities to learn and how they express common or uncommon characteristics of causality. Casual relations are often conditional probabilities to infer the existence of unobserved causes and variables that could explain evidence that links probabilities.

    2. This work has detailed just what children know when about these crucial domains and has tracked conceptual changes through childhood. For example, in the case of intuitive psychology or “theory of mind” developmentalists have charted a shift from an early understanding of emotion and action, to an understanding of intentions and simple aspects of perception, to an understanding of knowledge vs. ignorance and finally to a representational and then an interpretive theory of mind. Similarly, others have traced successive phases in children’s understanding of intuitive biology (Gelman 2003; Inagakai & Hatano 2002).

      My interest in educational statistical data emerged several years ago while I was in church listening to a sermon about how third grade reading scores were used to determine future funding for prisons. I was able to recognize similarities in the conceptual structures that this research details. Controversially, intuitive biology concepts have often been rooted in disparity and both theoretical and non theoretical structures have had to be challenged. The fundamental idea of cognitive science is that the brain is a kind of computer designed by evolution to perform particular cognitive functions. But history has shown that the theory of mind and intuitive biology structures has limiting projections of capabilities of certain subgroups like girls, Blacks and Jews. Methods have been used to skew certain outcomes toward specific demographics in this type of representation research. Fortunately, recent advances in the philosophy of science and machine learning have given us a new set of perspectives and tools that allow us to characterize theories and, most significantly, theory change itself.

    3. Recent work has revealed several new and significant aspects of the dynamics of theory change. First, statistical information, information about the probabilistic contingencies between events, plays a particularly important role in theory-formation both in science and in childhood. In the last fifteen years we’ve discovered the power of early statistical learning.

      The data of the past is congruent with the current psychological trends that face the education system of today. Developmentalists have charted how children construct and revise intuitive theories. In turn, a variety of theories have developed because of the greater use of statistical information that supports probabilistic contingencies that help to better inform us of causal models and their distinctive cognitive functions. These studies investigate the physical, psychological, and social domains. In the case of intuitive psychology, or "theory of mind," developmentalism has traced a progression from an early understanding of emotion and action to an understanding of intentions and simple aspects of perception, to an understanding of knowledge vs. ignorance, and finally to a representational and then an interpretive theory of mind.

      The mechanisms by which life evolved—from chemical beginnings to cognizing human beings—are central to understanding the psychological basis of learning. We are the product of an evolutionary process and it is the mechanisms inherent in this process that offer the most probable explanations to how we think and learn.

      Bada, & Olusegun, S. (2015). Constructivism Learning Theory : A Paradigm for Teaching and Learning.