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Cognitive Development Lab

This lab studies cognition in children and adults, typically the intuitive or perceptual bases of our understanding and how they interact with more reasoned conceptions later on, with studies on the development of some of our core concepts, causality, animacy, goal-direction, probability, utility and substance/matter. Most recent work considers young children’s pre-chemistry reasoning and their understanding of intensive properties of matter.

We use behavioural, experimental methods,  with studies covering the whole age range. In work on causality/animacy/goal-direction, for instance, we show animated motion stimuli that capture minimal information for these concepts to pre-verbal infants, talking-age children and adults, but using appropriately different response methodologies, habituation of looking time with infants,  simple pictorial choice methods with preschoolers, and graded judgements and verbal responses with adults.

A particular specialty is Information Integration Theory/Functional Measurement. This approach allows the study of multi-variable judgement or of concepts with multiple causal determinants. It empirically assesses, and algebraically models, the specific functions by which people integrate multiple informers.  We use these methods extensively to study children’s judgment and decision-making, as well as their naive chemistry reasoning, and their social cognition.

Principal investigator


020 7679 5383
Cognitive Development Lab website