Course description

The intricate relations between language and thought have stirred a heated debate from ancient philosophy to the era of modern science. Does language precede thought or vice versa? Do different languages create a different understanding of one’s physical and social environment? In this course we will examine some leading theories and empirical studies on the interconnections between these two complex abilities of the mind; and explore their developmental trajectories and interactions from infancy to adulthood.

To assess the various manifestations of the language-thought interface during early and middle childhood, we will use Israel and its main languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English) as our case study, focusing on an array of developmental domains such as: Color perception; spatial perception; time perception; concepts and categories; numerical abilities; Theory of Mind; meta-cognition; morality; among others.

Outcome 1: Discuss the substance and validity of theories and empirical studies on the relation between language and thought.

Outcome 2: Discern and describe the key factors (e.g., perceptual, linguistic, cognitive, and socio-emotional) that affect children’s developing relations between language and thought.

Outcome 3: Apply knowledge gained in objectives #1 & #2 to analyze and critique current developmental studies on the unique experience of monolingual and multilingual infants, young children and adolescents in Israel in relation to the development of the relations between language and thought.

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Previously offered classes

The next offering of this course is undetermined at this time.