Photo of Ayse Payir

Ayse Payir

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Ayse Payir is a research assistant professor in applied human development at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. A developmental psychologist, her research interests lie at the intersection of cognition, emotion, and imagination in early to middle childhood. Her current research explores how children understand the world: Do they understand it primarily in terms of natural causes or are they disposed, from an early age, to invoke supernatural causes? To answer this question, she studies how children learn what is real and what is possible, and the role played by culture in this process.

Previously, Dr. Payir was as a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University, Department of Psychology, where she focused on the development of moral cognition. Her studies explored children’s and adults’ judgments of intentional versus accidental harm, and the correlates of prosocial behavior. Dr. Payir’s work has appeared in several books and academic journals, including Developmental Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology, and Cognitive Science.

Pronouns: she/her

PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

MA, General Psychology, New York University

BA, Psychology, Yeditepe University

BA, Journalism, Istanbul University

Introduction to Human Development

Adolescent Development for Educators

Research and Statistical Methods in Psychology I & II Lab

Introduction to Psychology I & II

Statistical Methods in Behavioral Sciences I

Psychology of Personality

Payir, A., Corriveau, K., & Harris, P. L. (in press). Children’s beliefs in invisible causal agents – both religious and scientific. Advances in Child Development and Behavior (Vol. 65).

Payir, A., Heiphetz, L., Harris, P. L., & Corriveau, K. (2022). What could have been done? Counterfactual alternatives to negative outcomes generated by religious and secular children. Developmental Psychology, 58(2), 376–391.

.Payir, A., Mcloughlin, N., Cui, K.Y., Davoodi, T., Clegg, J., Harris, P. L. & Corriveau, K. (2021). Children’s ideas about what can really happen: The impact of age and religious background. Cognitive Science, 45(10), e13054.

Payir, A., & Davoodi, T., Cui, Y.K., Clegg, J., Harris, P. L., & Corriveau, K. (2020). Are high levels of religiosity inconsistent with a high valuation of science? Evidence from the United States, China and Iran. International Journal of Psychology, 56(2), 216-227. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12701

Payir, A., Soley, G., Serbest, O.*, Harris, P. L., & Corriveau, K. (2023, March). The role of testimony in the conceptualization of invisible phenomena: Findings from Turkey. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of Society for Research in Child Development, Salt Lake City, UT.

Payir, A. (2022, April). “Because plants need rain to have food on them!” Children’s judgments of possibility draw on their causal understanding. In Payir, Harris, & Corriveau (organizers). Developing judgments of possibility: What have we learnt and what have we yet to discover? Paper presented at the biennial meeting of Cognitive Development Society, Madison, WI.

Payir, A., & Heiphetz, L. (2021, April). Children’s and adults’ attributions of moral judgments to humans and God. In Dahl, A. & Srinavasan, M. (Chairs). Reasoning about Religious Norms Across the Lifespan: Applications, Violations, and Alterations. Paper presented at the virtual biennial meeting of Society for Research in Child Development.