I study social cognition in infancy and early childhood. My work is particularly concerned with the emergence of joint attention and the question of how children come to learn that objects (things, events etc.) can be viewed from different perspectives and can be placed under various concepts. The experimental studies that I conduct with my colleagues demonstrate that young children are astonishingly skilled at taking another's point of view, but also show some notable limitations. These studies further suggest that children's understanding of perspectives builds on their capacity for joint attention. This empirical work has been funded by the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes), the Volkswagen Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.

I am also involved in philosophy of mind and philosophical anthropology. Together with my colleague Andrea Kern (University of Leipzig), I study the differences between human and animal cognition. I am particularly interested in the species-unique ways in which humans act and think from the beginning of their lives, and in the role that shared intentionality plays in this context. For this research, I have received funds from the Saxonian Academy of the Sciences and from the Templeton Foundation (John Templeton Fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study).

Experience

  • –present
    Assistant Professor in Developmental Psychology, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences