Linda Smith

Linda Smith

Chair, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Chancellor's Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Distinguished Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1977

Research interests

The interaction of perceptual, cognitive, and linguistic factors in the psychology of objects and dimensions from a developmental perspective. Two current empirical emphases are: (1) developmental changes in perceived similarity and category formation; and (2) the development of quantitative dimensions. The theoretical perspective is that of dynamic systems. This perspective concentrates on the interaction of heterogeneous systems as the mechanism behind developmental change.

Professional Experience

  • Member, Memory and Cognitive Processes Panel, National Science Foundation, 1983-86
  • Member, Biological, Behavioral, and Social Sciences Panel, National Science Foundation, 1989-92
  • Member, Cognitive Emotion and Personality Panel, NIMH, 1989-93
  • Lilly Fellow, 1993-94
  • Associate Editor, Psychological Review, 1994-1996


  • James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award, 1985
  • APA Award for an Early Career Contribution, 1985
  • NIH Research Career Development Award, 1984-89
  • Tracy M. Sonneborn Award, 1997

Representative publications

A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action (1994)
Esther Thelen and Linda B Smith
MIT press. 10

The dynamics of embodiment: a field theory of infant perseverative reaching (2001)
Esther Thelen, Gregor Schöner, Christian Scheier and Linda B Smith
Behavioral and brain sciences, 24 (1), 70-80

Dynamic systems theories (2007)
Esther Thelen and Linda B Smith
Handbook of child psychology, 1

Development as a dynamic system (2003)
Linda B Smith and Esther Thelen
Trends in cognitive sciences, 7 (8), 343-348

Infants rapidly learn word-referent mappings via cross-situational statistics (2008)
Linda Smith and Chen Yu
Cognition, 106 (3), 1558-1568

Naming in young children: A dumb attentional mechanism? (1996)
Linda B Smith, Susan S Jones and Barbara Landau
Cognition, 60 (2), 143-171

Object name learning provides on-the-job training for attention (2002)
Linda B Smith, Susan S Jones, Barbara Landau, Lisa Gershkoff-Stowe and Larissa Samuelson
Psychological science, 13 (1), 13-19

Knowing in the context of acting: the task dynamics of the A-not-B error (1999)
Linda B Smith, Esther Thelen, Robert Titzer and Dewey McLin
Psychological review, 106 (2), 235

Rapid word learning under uncertainty via cross-situational statistics (2007)
Chen Yu and Linda B Smith
Psychological science, 18 (5), 414-420

The development of embodied cognition: Six lessons from babies (2005)
Linda Smith and Michael Gasser
Artificial life, 11 (1-2), 13-29

The place of perception in children's concepts (1993)
Susan S Jones and Linda B Smith
Cognitive Development, 8 (2), 113-139

Letting structure emerge: connectionist and dynamical systems approaches to cognition (2010)
James L McClelland, Matthew M Botvinick, David C Noelle, David C Plaut, Timothy T Rogers, Mark S Seidenberg ...
Trends in cognitive sciences, 14 (8), 348-356

Object shape, object function, and object name (1998)
Barbara Landau, Linda Smith and Susan Jones
Journal of memory and language, 38 (1), 27-Jan

Object properties and knowledge in early lexical learning (1991)
Susan S Jones, Linda B Smith and Barbara Landau
Child development, 62 (3), 499-516

How to learn words: An associative crane (2000)
Linda B Smith
Breaking the word learning barrier,

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Chemero, A. P. How to Be an Anti-Representationalist (April 1999) Smith, B. C., Port, R. F. (Co-Chair), Dunn, J. M., Millikan, R. G., Gelder T. J. (Co-Chair)
Desai, R. Modeling Interaction of Syntax and Semantics in Language Acquisition (December 2002) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Port, R., Smith, L.
Goldberg, Joshua When, Not Where A Dynamical Field Theory of Infant Gaze (January 2009) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Port, R., Schoner, G., Spencer, J.
Hanania, Rima Selective Attention and Attention Shifting in Preschool Children (August 2009) Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe, L. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Jones, S.
Hockema, S. A. Perception as Prediction (April 2004) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Port, R., Hummel, J.
Kapatsinski, Vsevolod The Architecture of Grammar in Artificial Grammar Learning: Formal Biases in the Acquisition of Morphophonology and The Nature of the Learning Task (May 2009) Pisoni, P. (Co-Chair), de Jong, K. (Co-Chair), Smith, L., Port, R.
Klein, Krystal Vocabulary Acquisition via Cross-Situational Learning (December 2009) Yu, C. (Chair), Shiffrin, R., James, K., Smith, L.
Luo, J. The Dynamics of Permanence (December 2004) Gasser, M. E. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. B. (Co-Chair), Cutu, F., Spencer, J. P.
Paik, Jae H Fraction Concepts: A Complex System of Mappings (May 2005) Mix, K. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Smith, L.
Samuelson, L. K. Statistical Regularities in Vocabulary Guide Language Acquisition In 15-20-Month-Olds And Connectionist Models (June 2000) Smith, L. B. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Gasser, M., Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair)
Sandhofter, C. M. Language Input And The Process of Learning Words: Evidence From Dimensional Adjectives (April 2002) Smith, L. B. (Chair), Gasser, M. E., Jones, S. S., Mix, K. S.
Scheutz, M. The Missing Link: Implementation And Realization of Communication in Computer And Cognitive Science (September 1999) Smith, B. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Moss, L., Port, R.
Shayan, Shakila Emergence of Roles in English Canonical Transitive Construction (June 2008) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe, L. (Co-Chair), Leake, D., Goldstone, R., Smith, L.
Sheya, Adam Coordinating Location and Object Properties in Goal-Directed Action: A Case of Self-Generated Developmental Change (November 2009) Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Beer, R. (Co-Chair), Sporns, O., Yu, C.
Son, Ji Y. Forces of Contextualization and Decontextualization: A Look at Symbols, Experience, and Language (August 2007) Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Smith, L (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Yu, C.
Yurovsky, Daniel Mechanisms of Statistical Word Learning (September 2012) Yu, C. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Shiffrin, R., Jones, S., Busemeyer, J.,
Zapf, Jennifer Comprehension production, and meaning: What the regular English plural can tell us about language (July 2007) Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Gierut, J (Co-Chair)., Gasser, M.