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At the Development of Social Cognition Laboratory at Cornell University, we study children to understand adults. We are interested in the developmental origins of people’s social understanding, and how early experiences lay the groundwork for later social behavior. Studies of children can reveal incredible insights into the human mind – not just because children are interesting (though they are, of course) but also because studies of children elucidate our human nature.

We place particular emphasis on studying the emergence of social group preferences and attitudes, often investigating children’s attention to language or accent as a marker of group membership.

Through understanding basic mechanisms of human thinking, we aim to inform broader questions about education, law, and social policy.

Our team is led by Katherine Kinzler, Associate Professor in Psychology and Human Development.