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Deb Kelemen, PhD

Professor of Psychology, Lab Director

My research program adopts an interdisciplinary, crosscultural approach to the study of cognitive development. It explores fundamental questions about the nature of children’s and adults’ concepts and reasoning, and the relationship between them. To what extent do children categorize and explain the world differently from adults? In particular, how do children conceive of people, animals, and physical objects? How do those domains of knowledge interrelate? How do they change over time? My interest in these questions has motivated a wide range of intersecting projects on the development of teleological, intentional, and biological reasoning, functional categorization, agency beliefs, artifact concepts, and conventional knowledge. Our studies have clarified debates about the nature of social cognition, moral cognition, conceptual change, social learning, and scientific and religious theory formation. In addition, my basic research informs applied research on early science education.

You can learn more about two currently funded research projects.

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Deb Kelemen, PhD