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Natalie Emmons, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

My research program looks at how individuals acquire knowledge and beliefs about the world. By utilizing methods from psychology and anthropology, I cross-culturally investigate the nature and development of diverse psychological and biological conceptions (e.g., “person,” “spirit,” “natural selection”). I am especially interested in the intersection of psychological and biological causal reasoning and how both are used in everyday reasoning. Through my research on intuitive and scientific theory formation, I have developed education interventions aimed at promoting scientific literacy. These interventions employ realistic picture storybooks and have yielded substantial learning gains in elementary school-aged children.

Representative publications:

Emmons, N. A., & Kelemen, D. A. (in press). The development of children’s pre-life reasoning: Evidence from two cultures. Child Development.

Kelemen, D., Emmons, N. A., Seston, R., & Ganea, P. (in press). Young children can be taught basic natural selection using a picture storybook intervention. Psychological Science.