Understanding self and other
How and when do children start understanding themselves, and others around them? Which comes first: understanding ourselves, or understanding others? And are these two opposites: the more I focus on our differences, the more I focus on myself and ignore what the other knows differently? - or are they complementary: does a better understanding of myself enable better self-other distinction and coordination? Currently we are investigating to what extent young infants are altercentric, that is, rely on others' perspectives when encoding information about the world. In future projects I am interested in addressing on one hand how this tendency may change across development and what factors contribute to these changes; and on the other hand, to what extent there is intra-individual consistency in people's tendency to attend to others.
Objects in a social context
How do we perceive objects, and how is this influenced by the social environment? Much of cognition happens in a social context, and recently we have began to appreciate the fundamental ways in which this affects how we perceive and remember things. Often this helps us with interaction and coordination, other times it results in interesting 'mistakes' that we may make if we cannot ignore others' perspectives even when we should focus on our own. What are the benefits of such susceptibility to others around us, and how does this influence what we encode and recall about our environment? And what role may this play early in development?
I am co-lead, together with 3 other scholars, on the ManyBabies 2 project. The ManyBabies projects are large-scale, international collaborative projects inspired by the ManyLabs initiatives.
MB2's central topic is infant theory of mind, and the overarching goal is to develop and probe paradigms to probe infants' ToM with spontaneous / nonverbal tasks. Currently there are more than 40 labs involved, and in the first study of MB2 we are designing a conceptual replication of previous paradigms looking at belief-based action anticipation with eye-tracking.