Azzurra Ruggeri


My research focuses on how children and adults actively search for information when making decisions, drawing causal inferences and solving categorization tasks. Search strategies, as any other kind of strategies, are not always effective, because their usefulness and performance depends on the characteristics of the problem presented. In this sense, I am interested in how adaptive children and adults’ search for information strategies are, how sensitive and responsive they are to the structure of the tasks. I am especially interested in how actively searching for information, being able to generate the information we are interested in and to focus on what we consider most relevant, can impact our learning, understanding and explanations.


Emergence and developmental trajectory of active and ecological learning

This talk will introduce the Ecological Learning framework, which focuses on children’s ability to adapt and tailor their active learning strategies to the particular structure and characteristics of a learning environment. In particular, I will present the results of several seminal studies indicating that efficient, adaptive search strategies emerge around 3 years of age, much earlier than previously assumed. This work highlights the importance of developing age-appropriate paradigms that capture children’s early competence to gain a more comprehensive and fair picture of their active learning abilities. Also, it offers a process-oriented theoretical framework that can accommodate and reconcile a sparse but growing body of work documenting children’s active and adaptive learning.

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