Psychology Faculty Profiles
Sandra R. Waxman, Ph.D.
Office: Swift 212
Phone: (847) 467-2293
Language and conceptual development in infancy and early childhood; cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perspectives; early acquisition of concepts, words, and inductive reasoning.
Linking Early Linguistic and Conceptual Development (Project on Child Development) Our research considers the acquisition of two fundamental human capacities -- conceptual development and language development -- and the relation between them in infants and toddlers. We consider the development of these capacities throughout the first two years of life, beginning with infants who have not even begun to speak. Adopting a cross-linguistic developmental perspective, our research involves infants and young children acquiring a range of different languages, including English, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, French and Italian.
Living and Learning in Relationships (Living in Relations website) - The overall purpose of this project is to examine the role of culture and associated epistemological orientations in the development of knowledge and reasoning about the natural world, in both Native American and non-Native communities. Our earlier work has shown that cultural differences in conceptions of human-nature relations manifest not only in explicit knowledge and values, but also implicitly in practices. Our project employs an integration of multiple methods and measures in order to conduct: 1. studies of input conditions and learning in everyday contexts, 2. more formal cognitive science studies of learning and conceptual organization and 3. community-based design experiments focused on preschool science learning.
This project is a collaborative effort between the University of Washington and the American Indian Center of Chicago (Megan Bang), the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin (Karen Washinawatok), and Northwestern University (Sandra Waxman and Doug Medin).
Selected Recent Publications
Arunachalam, S. & Waxman, S. (2011). Grammatical form and semantic context in verb learning. Language Learning and Development. 7(3), 169-184.
Leddon, E.M., Waxman, S.R., Medin, (2011). What does it mean to 'live' and 'die'? A cross-linguistic analysis of parent-child conversations in English and Indonesian. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 29 (3): 375-395.
Leddon, E.M., Arunachalam, S., Waxman, S.R., Fu, X., Gong, H., & Wang, L. (2011). Noun- and verb-learning in Mandarin-acquiring 24-month-olds. In N. Danis, K. Mesh, & H. Sung (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Fennell, C. & Waxman, S.R.. (2010). What paradox? Referential cues allow for infant use of phonetic detail in word learning. Child Development. 81(5), 1376–1383.
Medin, D., Waxman, S., Woodring, J., & Washinawatok, K. (2010). Human-centeredness is not a universal feature of young children’s reasoning: Culture and experience matter when reasoning about biological entities. Cognitive Development, 25(3), 197-207.
Arunachalam, S. & Waxman, S.R (2010). Meaning from syntax: Evidence from 2-year-olds. Cognition.114(3), 442-446.
Waxman, S. (2010). Names will never hurt me? Naming and the development of racial and gender categories in preschool-aged children. European Journal of Social Psychology. 40(4), 593-610.
Anggoro, F., Medin, D. & Waxman, S. (2010). Language and Experience Influence Children’s Biological Induction. Journal of Cognition and Culture. 10, 171-187.
Herrmann, P., Waxman, S.R., & Medin, D.L. (2010). Anthropocentrism is not the first step in children's reasoning about the natural world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (22) 9979-9984.
Ferry, A., Hespos, S., & Waxman, S. (2010). Categorization in 3- and 4-Month-Old Infants: An Advantage of Words Over Tones. Child Development.81(2), 472-479.