PLAYTrack Bootcamp: Pretend play & Imagination

2018.02.21 | Cognition and Behavior Lab

Date Thu 07 Jun
Time 09:00 16:00
Location IMC Meeting Room. Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312, 8000 Aarhus C
Registration has closed


For a long time, pretend and imaginative play have been thought to reflect a critical feature of human children’s cognitive and social development. This bootcamp brings together four researchers to present their own work and engage in most interesting discussions about how play and imagination affect the way that children come to learn about the social and natural world.

This bootcamp is organised with means and interests of the IMC project PLAYTrack, funded by the LEGO Foundation and dedicated to developing, using and disseminating methods to study Play and Playfulness. 

Confirmed speakers:

Alison Gopnik, Professor at the Department of Psychology at UC Berkeley and head of the Gopnik Cognitive Development Lab, is internationally recognised as one of the leading experts on children’s learning and development. Alison was one of the founders of the field of “theory of mind”, an originator of the “theory theory” of children’s development, and more recently, she introduced the idea that probabilistic models and Bayesian inference could be applied to children’s learning.

Jacqueline D. Woolley, Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and leader of the Imagination & Cognition Lab, is internationally acclaimed for her work on how children evaluate the reality status of novel entities and events. Jacqueline has done extensive work on the conceptual development in preschool and elementary school children, including topics such as their perceptions of reality and possibility, the role of testimony in children’s beliefs, and the development of scientific and supernatural reasoning.

Robert Lecusay, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Jönköping University's School of Education and Communication. His research examines the relationship between formal and informal learning in afterschool and preschool environments, focusing in particular on the tension between play and learning in processes of schoolification and pedagogization in early childhood education for sustainable development. He is currently the principal investigator for a study examining children's outdoor pretend and exploratory play in relation to a growing agenda in the Swedish preschool sector that emphasizes teaching (formal instruction) at an earlier age.

Stephanie M. Carlson, Professor at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota and co-director of the Carlson and Zelazo Lab, is an internationally recognised leader in the study of children’s executive function, theory of mind and pretend play. Stephanie has done extensive research on how these skills interrelate in the preschool period, their brain bases, their relevance for school readiness, and the socio-cultural influences on their development.  

The bootcamps, as started in 2016, continue as events directed to an interdisciplinary (and not exclusively academic) public willing to invest a full day (9 am – 5 pm) to acquire fundamental knowledge about the respective topic. The talks therefore are planned to start on a basic level, though quickly leading up to state of the art research of the speakers. A shared panel discussion at the end is thought to allow comparisons and combinations of the different approaches. Participation is limited to 40 participants max. and registration is acquired. Please note that we would like participants to join for the full day (not only for single talks) to allow the progress described. Lunch and coffee is provided by the IMC.    


Contact: Postdoc Marc Andersen, IMC