Laboratory for the Psychology
of Child Development
Wim De Neys
Decades of reasoning and decision-making research have shown that human judgment is often biased by intuitive heuristics. Recent studies on conflict detection during thinking nevertheless indicate that despite their biased response, adults typically do detect that their answer is not fully warranted and conflicts with logical considerations. This conflict sensitivity suggests that people are biased because they fail to override the tempting intuitions and has important implications for our view of human rationality and the design of intervention programs to de-bias our reasoning. The core objective of the present project is to address the development of children’s conflict detection efficiency over the critical elementary and secondary school years.
Olivier Houdé et Grégoire Borst
Nowadays new technologies offer the opportunity to investigate repetitively and noninvasively - using brain imaging techniques - cognitive learning processes in children. The goal of the APEX project is to investigate in 4th and 5th grades children and 11th and 12th grades adolescent the respective effects of two executive trainings of two key processes of the prefrontal cortex – Inhibition and Working Memory – using the most adapted brain imaging techniques to date (Magnetic Resonance Imagery). The APEX project aims at first devising computerized executive training tasks on tactile tablets, a device that can be used in ecological settings both at school and at home. We will then investigate the effects of these two executive training conditions at a cerebral level, both anatomically (anatomical MRI and diffusion MRI) and functionally (functional MRI), in relation with the polymorphism of certain genes and a set of cognitive and academic performance. The data collected will ultimately allow us to propose pedagogical interventions validated experimentally
What are the situations in which a group is stuck on ideas or technologies that have proven to be ineffective and cannot lead to cutting edge solutions? This question is critical given that difficulty to come out with innovative ideas in certain industrial contexts occurs even though all the necessary conditions for innovation are fulfilled. The IDefixE project was based on the view shared by Partner 1 (LaPsyDÉ, Paris Descartes) and 2 (CGS, Mines ParisTech) forged during their collaboration that some of the issues and shortenings of the dynamics of the industry is best explained in terms of cognitive limitations. Indeed, as shown in decision making studies, people are biased and the capacity to generate new and innovative ideas is constrained by heuristics that lead to fixation effect. In this context, the aim of the IDefixE project was to identify the key cognitive processes that allow to generate innovative ideas and to determine to what extent it is possible to develop set a of management tools to overcome these fixation effects in industries.
Wim De Neys
Given the importance of sound reasoning for all aspects of life from the classroom to the office, it is not surprising that cognitive and educational scientists have been trying to develop educational “de-bias” interventions to help people avoid biased thinking. However, results of these interventions have been less than optimal. One reason lies in individual bias locus variance. If different individuals are biased for different reasons, they will obviously benefit from a different type of training. Hence, a straightforward solution to boost the efficiency of intervention programs is to target each type of program at those specific individuals that need them most. This requires the type of individual level analysis or diagnosis that current fundamental research fails to provide. The DIAGNOR project will directly address the lack of individual level analysis in previous work. We propose an in depth and systematic exploration of the individual differences question with an ambitious combination of large scale behavioral, neuroscientific, and developmental studies.