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Susan E. Carey (born 1942[1]) is an American psychologist. She is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. She is an expert in language acquisition and children's development of biological concepts and is known for introducing the concept of fast mapping,[citation needed] whereby children learn the meanings of words after a single exposure.[2] Carey received a B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1964 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1971. She was employed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1972–1996 and New York University from 1996–2001 before joining the faculty at Harvard University in 2001, where she is currently chair of the psychology department. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001.[1] Carey is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and has received many academic awards and distinctions, including the Jean Nicod Prize for philosophy of mind in 1998, and she was the first woman to receive the Rumelhart Prize in 2009, which has been given annually since 2001 for significant contributions to the theoretical foundation of human cognition. She is married to the professor of philosophy Ned Block (NYU). Carey is the author of Conceptual Change in Childhood, which reconciles Piaget's work on animism with later work on children's knowledge of biological concepts.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter C. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. URL accessed on 7 April 2011.
  2. Carey S, Bartlett E (1978). Acquiring a single new word. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development 15: 17–29.

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