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Nora S. Newcombe is the James H. Glackin Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Temple University. She is a Canadian-American researcher in cognitive development, cognitive psychology and cognitive science, working on the development of spatial thinking and reasoning and on the development of episodic memory. She is PI of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, one of 6 NSF-funded Science of Learning Centers.
Newcombe obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Harvard University in 1976. She has served as the President of the Cognitive Development Society, Division 7 (Developmental) of the American Psychological Association, the Eastern Psychological Association and as Chair of the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association. She has been elected as a Fellow in various societies including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Association for Psychological Science, four divisions of the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She has received the G. Stanley Hall Award, the George A. Miller Award, an Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, and the Women in Cognitive Science Mentorship Award. She was a James McKeen Cattell Fellow for a sabbatical year at Princeton in 1999-2000. She has been the keynote speaker at various meetings including the Psychonomic Society, the American Psychological Society, the International Mind Brain Education Society and the German Psychological Society. She also serves on various Boards.
Newcombe has been a leader in the study of spatial development and spatial cognition. Her book with Janellen Huttenlocher, Making Space, brought out in 2003 by The MIT Press, was hailed as synthesizing decades of research and providing a new impetus for the field. Newcombe’s thinking about cognitive development supports a neoconstructivist view of development different from either traditional nativist or from traditional empiricist ways of thinking. In addition, she has worked on sex differences in cognition, beginning in the late 1970’s with a critical look at a then-popular explanation of sex differences in spatial functioning in terms of timing of puberty. Since then, she has consistently respected the evolutionary and neural context of sex differences while also emphasizing the malleability of cognitive ability, as shown in a 2008 Applied Cognitive Psychology article with Melissa Terlecki and Michelle Little (recently reprinted in a special issue celebrating 25 years of ACP ).
Newcombe has led the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC), one of 6 NSF-funded Science of Learning Centers that explore learning in an interdisciplinary framework with an eye simultaneously on theory and application. She has thus brought spatial cognition to the forefront of our conceptualization of the human intellect and its potential for learning.
In her work on memory and memory development, Newcombe has integrated research from adult cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience to the study of development, both in terms of distinctions between implicit and explicit memory (in a 1994 Child Development article with Nathan Fox ) and in terms of distinctions between semantic and episodic memory (as overviewed in a 2007 chapter in Advances in Child Development and Behavior with Marianne Lloyd and Kristin Ratliff ).
- Newcombe, N. S. (2011). What is neoconstructivism? Child Development Perspectives, 5, 157-160. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2011.00180.x
- Newcombe, N. S. (2002). The nativist-empiricist controversy in the context of recent research on spatial and quantitative development. Psychological Science, 13, 395-401. DOI:10.1111/1467-9280.00471
- Spatial Development
- Newcombe, N. S., Ratliff, K. R., Shallcross, W. L. & Twyman, A. D. (2010). Young children’s use of features to reorient is more than just associative: Further evidence against a modular view of spatial processing. Developmental Science, 13, 213-220.DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00877.x
- Twyman, A. D. & Newcombe, N. S. (2010). Five reasons to doubt the existence of a geometric module. Cognitive Science, 34, 1315-1356.DOI: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01081.x
- Learmonth, A. E., Nadel, L. & Newcombe, N. S. (2002). Children’s use of landmarks: Implications for modularity theory. Psychological Science, 13, 337-341. PMID URL
- Newcombe, N. S. & Huttenlocher, J. (2000). Making space: The development of spatial representation and reasoning. MIT Press.
- Sex Differences
- Terlecki, M. S., Newcombe, N. S. & Little, M. (2008). Durable and generalized effects of spatial experience on mental rotation: Gender differences in growth patterns. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 996-1013.DOI: 10.1002/acp.1420
- Newcombe, N. S. & Bandura, M. M. (1983). Effects of age at puberty on spatial ability in girls: A question of mechanism. Developmental Psychology, 19, 215-224. DOI: 10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.206
- Newcombe, N. S., Lloyd, M. E. & Ratliff, K. R. (2007). Development of episodic and autobiographical memory: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. In R. V. Kail (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior, 35, (pp. 37–85). San Diego, CA: Elsevier. PMID URL
- Newcombe, N. S. & Fox, N. (1994). Infantile amnesia: Through a glass darkly. Child Development, 65, 31-40. jstor Stable URL
- ↑ Tricoles, Robin The Benefits of Spatial Thinking. Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS). URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ Newcombe, Nora S. (2010). Picture This: Increasing Math and Science Learning by Improving Spatial Thinking. American Educator 34 (2): 29–35.
- ↑ EPA: Past Presidents. Eastern Psychological Association. URL accessed on 30 October 2012.
- ↑ APA distinguished scientists: DIVISION 1 (SOCIETY FOR GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY). APA. URL accessed on 30 October 2012.
- ↑ Baals, Barbara PSYCHOLOGIST NORA NEWCOMBE HONORED FOR RESEARCH AT TEMPLE UNIVERSITY. Temple University. URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ Moretz, Preston M. American Psychological Association honors Nora Newcombe for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science. Temple University. URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ The WICS Mentorship Award Winners 2006. Women in Cognitive Science. URL accessed on 30 October 2012.
- ↑ The Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting. The Psychonomic Society. URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ 2011 Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting. Keynote Address. URL accessed on 30 October 2012.
- ↑ International Mind Brain Education Society 2011 Meeting--TSN: Panel Two. URL accessed on 30 October 2012.
- ↑ Newcombe, Nora S.; Huttenlocher, Janellen (2003). Making space: The development of spatial representation and reasoning, 276, Cambridge: MIT Press.
- ↑ Ireland, Corydon Of men, women, and space: Radcliffe conference explores gender’s measurable dimensions. Harvard University. URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ Terlecki, Melissa S., Newcombe, Nora S.; Little, Michelle (1 November 2008). Durable and generalized effects of spatial experience on mental rotation: gender differences in growth patterns. Applied Cognitive Psychology 22 (7): 996–1013.
- ↑ (January 2011). [Applied Cognitive Psychology pecial Issue: Celebrating 25 years of Applied Cognitive Psychology]. Applied Cognitive Psychology 25 (S1): S1–S282.
- ↑ Cimons, Marlene Science of Spatial Learning: Center seeks to transform teaching practices. US News and World Report. URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ Guzdial, Mark Science of Spatial Learning: Nora Newcombe at NCWIT. Computing Education Blog by Mark Guzdial. URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ FABBS Learning to Think Spatially: Improving STEM Education in K-12 and Beyond. Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS). URL accessed on 1 November 2012.
- ↑ Klass, Perri The Makings of Our Earliest Memories. The New York Times. URL accessed on 30 October 2012.
- ↑ Newcombe, N, Fox, NA (1994 Feb). Infantile amnesia: through a glass darkly.. Child development 65 (1): 31–40.
- ↑ Newcombe, NS, Lloyd, ME; Ratliff, KR (2007). Development of episodic and autobiographical memory: a cognitive neuroscience perspective.. Advances in child development and behavior 35: 37–85.
- Department of Psychology, Temple University
- Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC)
- Temple Infant and Child Laboratory
- See an interview of Nora S. Newcombe, who is co-director of the Infant Lab along with Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. Produced by Temple University.
- Research in Spatial Cognition (RISC) Lab
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