Developmental Psychology

The Developmental Psychology Group studies social and cognitive development across the lifespan.

The Developmental Psychology Group studies social and cognitive development. We are involved with cross-sectional and longitudinal research on how children and adolescents cope with and adjust to the problems in their lives. Recently our research has expanded to include cross-cultural and cross-national investigations of how adolescents cope with stressors.

A second research area uses feminist and social constructionist frameworks to examine messages about gender and the body found in popular culture, and how young people represent that information. Within the area of young people’s gender and sexuality, we study ‘dating’ relationships and abuse, sexual coercion, sexuality education and teenage pregnancy.

In the area of cognitive development, our research focuses on understanding the mechanisms supporting theory of mind (or perspective taking) in young children and adults. One goal of this research program seeks to detect, differentiate and distinguish the content of children’s and adults’ implicit and explicit theory of mind understanding (using tasks that measure eye movements, reaction times, bodily movements, and verbal deliberations). Another goal of this research program seeks to measure the extent to which human beings’ implicit tracking of others’ perspectives or beliefs (as compared to explicit reasoning) is relatively automatic but subject to signature limits.

Other developmental research investigates how discussions between children and the adults in their life before, during, or after an event, shape the child’s understanding and memory of their experiences.


The following staff work in this research area: