My research focuses primarily on children's social cognitive development. In particular, I am interested in the following lines of research:
Children's evaluation of other people as sources of information
Given that young children learn about many aspects of the world from others, it is important to examine how they reason about other people's knowledge, if they are able to evaluate the accuracy of others, and if they make use of the most reliable informers when learning new information. For example, are children more likely to trust new information that it is endorsed by several speakers than by a single individual?
Children's understanding of eye-gaze cues
As well as enabling us to see the external world, our eyes reveal information about our internal worlds to others such as the focus of our attention, our beliefs and emotions. Our work examines children's developing ability to understand the link between a person's eye gaze and their mental states. This is an essential skill for communication and perspective-taking. Examples of informative gaze cues are direction of gaze, relative duration or frequency of gaze, eye contact and gaze avoidance.
Research grants and awards
- British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, Co-investigator: Prof. Paul Harris (Oct 2012-Dec 2013): "Do Children Believe Everything They Read? The Perceived Authority of Text"
- EPS Study Visit Grant for research visit to Harvard University (Summer 2011)
- British Academy Small Grant (March 2009 - April 2010): "Are several heads better than one? Children's use of social consensus as a cue to reliability when learning new information"
- ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, £80,887 (Oct 2007 - Sept 2008) : "Exploring Children's Sensitivity to the Mentalistic Significance of Eye-Gaze Cues in Typical and Atypical Populations"
- Nuffield Foundation Bursary for an Undergraduate Summer RA (Summer 2008)
- Postgraduate Poster Prize, BPS Conference, Edinburgh, UK (5-8 Sept, 2005)