Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Ezgi Kayhan (Donders series 317)

28 March 2018

Promotor: prof. dr. H. Bekkering, copromotor: dr. S. Hunnius

(A scientist's model) How Young Learners Adapt to Change

Have you ever wondered how you acquired the vast amount of knowledge and skills you are equipped with today? In this complex and changing world, how did you build up knowledge that is useful to guide your actions for the future? Of course, there is no single answer to these questions. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: You learned many things and gradually built knowledge, and perhaps still learning every day.

In my PhD research, I investigated how young children learn about the structure of the world to guide their actions. In particular, I examined how they update their existing internal models in response to changes in the environment and how they revise their world models if these models no longer represent the outside world accurately. As the models were revised, different from model updating, the structure of the models changed (e.g. new variables were added to the models). Across several ages, I investigated the developmental differences in model updating and revision processes. Using a Bayesian framework, I proposed an explanation of how young learners adjust their internal models of the environment as they acquire new information to maintain an accurate representation of the outside world.