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Alison Gopnik

Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

Alison Gopnik is an American Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She is known for her work in the areas of cognitive and language development, specializing in the effect of language on thought, the development of a theory of mind, and causal learning.

Gopnik received her BA in psychology and philosophy from McGill University, and earned a DPhil in experimental psychology from Oxford University. She worked at the University of Toronto before joining the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her writing on psychology and cognitive science has appeared in Science, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, New Scientist, Slate and others. Her body of work also includes four books and over 100 journal articles. She has frequently appeared on TV and radio including The Charlie Rose Show and The Colbert Report and she regularly writes the “Mind and Matter” column for The Wall Street Journal.

Gopnik is an authority on the philosophy of mind and a preeminent developmental psychologist. Gopnik is known for advocating the “theory theory” which postulates that the same mechanisms used by scientists to develop scientific theories are used by children to develop causal models of their environment.

Topic Series


The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life

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The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind

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Causal Learning: Psychology, Philosophy, and Computation (Oxford Series in Cognitive Development)

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Words, Thoughts, and Theories (Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change)

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