Research with Children

What is comparative cognition?

In a very general sense, the study of cognition involves the way we perceive and act in the world as well as the mental abilities and processes that equip us to do so. Comparative cognition is the study of cognition across different species, ages, and cultures.


Why do we study children?

Our lab is broadly interested in human sociality, and especially in social accountability. We explore how it develops ontogenetically by studying how children are socialized and learn to participate in social interactions, as well as how they understand and respond to social norms and expectations.

Some questions we are investigating:
-How do children develop social attention including: seeing what others see, understanding communicative signals, and inferring others’ attention by following the direction of their voice?
-What affects a child’s capacity to attend to specific signals and then learn from these observations?
-How do children develop an understanding of sequential structure and timing in social interaction?
-How are gestures acquired through development?
-How do children adopt an understanding of others’ expectations?
-How do children develop a criteria of what is expected of them and others in a social interaction?
-How do children develop and understanding of social norms?
-How do children account for their own and others’ behaviors?
-How are children socialized into different levels of group accountability  (ranging, for example, from how they interact with friends and family, to general species-specific moral accountability)?
-How do children develop an understanding of property rights, value, and justice?


Find out more about ongoing research projects here →