|Residence||Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA|
|Fields||developmental psychology, cognitive development|
|Education||London University, Radcliffe College|
Susan E. Carey (born 1942) 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, whereby children learn the meanings of words after a single exposure. Her research focuses on analyzing philosophical concepts, and conceptual changes in science over time. She has conducted experiments on infants, toddlers, adults, and non-human primates.
Susan Carey was born in 1942. Her parents were William and Mary. Later, her father remarried to a woman named Joan who currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Carey's studies focus on the development of children and adults and the cultural construction of concepts over time. Carey received a B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1964, a Fulbright scholarship to study in University of London in 1965, and a Ph.D. in Experimental psychology from Harvard University in 1971. She was employed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1972–1996 in the Psychology Department of Brain and Cognitive development and New York University from 1996–2001 before joining the faculty at Harvard University in 2001.
On returning to Harvard, Carey began working along side Elizabeth Spelke, where they started a Developmental Studies lab. Carey also studied alongside George Miller, Jerome Butler, and Roger Brown. She conducted experiments on infants, toddlers, adults, and non-human primates. Carey coined the term, "Quinian bootstrapping" which is a bootstrapping process that historians and philosophers looked at on conceptual change.
Carey is a member of the American Philosophical Society, National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, and the British Academy. Her research analyzes philosophical concepts, and conceptual changes in science over time. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001. Carey is a member 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 authored Conceptual Change in Childhood, which reconciles Piaget's work on animism with later work on children's knowledge of biological concepts. She also authored The Origin of Concepts, for which she won the 2010 Eleanor Maccoby Book Award from the American Psychological Association.
When Susan Carey began her career she served on a few Editorial Boards. Some of the boards she was on were for the Psychological Review, Psychological Science, Journal of Acquisition, and Development Psychology. Susan Carey and Elsa Bartlett were at Harvard University when they created the term "Fast mapping" in 1978. This term refers to the hypothesized mental process where a new concept is learned only based on a single exposure. Susan Carey wrote a book during her career as a psychologist, which was called Conceptual Change in Childhood. This book was about the cognitive differences between children and adults. It is a case study about children's acquisition of biological knowledge and analyzes the ways the knowledge is restructured during the development. Susan Carey wrote another book called "the Origin of Concepts" which shows the basis of development of cognitive science.
In her professional experience she started out as an assistant professor at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) between 1972 and 1977. She then went to an associate professor at MIT in 1977 to 1984. Instead of being in the psychology department in 1984 she became a professor in the MIT's department of brain and cognitive sciences until 1996. She was a professor at NYU (New York University) for the department of psychology from 1996 to 2001, after her career at NYU she had moved to Harvard and is still currently teaching.
Susan Carey has received many fellowships and honors. These fellowships and honors include: Radcliff Institute Fellowship (1976-1978), Sloane Fellow (1980-1981), Fellow: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (1984-1985), Cattell Fellowship (1995-1996), Nicod Prize (1998), Society of Cognitive Neuroscience, George A Miller Lecturer (1998), Guggenheim Fellowship (1999-2000), National Academy of Education (1999), Society for Experimental Psychology (1999), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001), William James Fellow, American Psychology Society (2002), The British Academy, Corresponding Fellow (2007), David E. Rumelhart Prize (2008), Ottawa Township High School Hall of Fame (2009), Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, American Psychological Association (2009), Eleanor Maccoby Award for the Best Book in Development Psychology (APA, 2010), and Cognitive Development Society Book Award (2001)
Papers written as sole author
- 2015  The science of cognitive science
- 2014  On Learning New Primitives in the Language of Thought: Reply to Rey
- 2011  Concept Innateness, Concept Continuity, and Bootstrapping: A Response to Commentaries on The Origin of Concepts
- 2011  The Origin of Concepts
- 2010  Beyond Fast Mapping
- 2009  Where our number concepts come from
- 2009  Math schemata and the origins of number representations
- 2004  Bootstrapping and the origins of concepts
- 2002  Evidence for numerical abilities in young infants: A fatal flaw?
- 2001  Evolutionary and Ontogenetic Foundations of Arithmetic
- 2000  Science education as conceptual change
- 2000  The origin of concepts
- 1998  Knowledge of number: Its evolution and ontogenesis
- 1997  Do constraints on word meaning reflect prelinguistic cognitive architecture?
- 1994  Does learning a language require conceptual change?
- 1992  Becoming a face expert
- 1988  Conceptual differences between children and adults
- 1986  Cognitive science and science education 
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter C" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- Susan Carey Profile, Association for Psychological Science. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/awards/james/citations/carey.cfm
- Carey S, Bartlett E (1978). "Acquiring a single new word". Papers and Reports on Child Language Development. 15: 17–29.
- Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011-01-01). American Women of Science Since 1900. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598841589.
- Carey, Susan (2009). "Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions". American Psychologist, 64(8), 636-638. doi:10.1037/a0017193.
- "Biography of Susan Carey". rumelhartprize.org. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
- "Susan Carey | Laboratory for Developmental Studies". software.rc.fas.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-08.