External Professor Alison Gopnik (image: Rod Searcey)

SFI External Professor Alison Gopnik (UC Berkeley) has been awarded the 2024 David E. Rumelhart Prize. This recognition celebrates her major contributions to the field of cognitive science, particularly in the realm of children’s learning and development. Gopnik’s scholarly impact extends across multiple domains, including philosophy, linguistics, animal behavior, anthropology, and artificial intelligence. 

The Rumelhart Prize, awarded on an annual basis, recognizes individuals or collaborative groups whose work significantly advances the theoretical foundations of human cognition. The Cognitive Science Society, which announced the award, described her work as “a rare combination of experimental rigor and philosophical sophistication.” They also highlighted her role as a “highly effective spokesperson for science and the importance of childhood education.” 

“I am so delighted and honored to receive the Rumelhart Prize for theoretical foundations of cognitive science,” says Gopnik. “I’m especially grateful because this is what I think my work has been about — bringing together philosophy, psychology, and computation to figure out how knowledge is possible, through the sort of interdisciplinary research that has always been at the heart of SFI. And I am also pleased by the recognition of the role that studying children plays in that endeavor.” 

Gopnik will receive the award at the Cognitive Science Society’s gathering in the Netherlands next year.