Lab Personnel


Pic of Paul Bloom Paul Bloom
My research explores the nature of language and thought, primarily from a developmental perspective. I am currently working with students on a range of different issues, including social cognition in babies, the developing understanding of art and fiction, and the nature of disgust and humor. Please see the Publications page for links to some of my papers.

Grad Students

Pic of Christina Starmans Christina Starmans
My research is currently focused on children's and adults' intuitive reasoning about the self, or soul. Some current projects are investigating children's intuitions about what kinds of properties the self might have, as well as how we reason about conflict within the self (the proverbial angel & devil on the shoulders), and our commonsense theories of personal identity. A second line of research is exploring the folk concept of knowledge.

Pic of Koni Banerjee Konika Banerjee
My interest is in the cognitive science of religion: exploring the ways in which humans' capacity and proclivity to hold religious beliefs may be rooted in certain universal social-cognitive biases that naturally incline people to see the world in terms of agency, purpose, and design. In particular, I'm interested in how a broad teleological bias to see purpose in nature and in life events may make children and adults highly receptive to a number of common religious ideas (e.g., god, creationism, fate). In addition, I examine how domain-general cognitive biases interact with specific cultural input in supporting religious cognition throughout the lifespan.

Pic of Adam Bear Adam Bear
My research focuses on the nature and development of people's understanding of their own minds, with the more specific goal of examining what factors lead us to believe that we make free choices and have free will. To that end, I am investigating the extent to which this belief is driven by our own conscious experience of "the will" as opposed to third-person theories of choice. I am also looking at ways in which our mind can be tricked into thinking that we are choosing freely when we are not in order to understand how our conscious experience of choice is constructed. Ultimately, I hope to relate this research to a more fundamental question in moral psychology: When-and why-do we think people deserve punishment?

Lab Alumni

Pic of Jonathan Phillips Jonathan Phillips
My research falls in the intersection of psychology and philosophy, and typically focuses on questions that combine morality, causation and social reasoning. One question I work on is the development of social expectations, and have specifically been interested in the idea that the systems children and adults use to determining what others will do in moral situations are completely separate from the systems they use to determine what they themselves will do. Relatedly, I'm starting to investigate what children think is possible or impossible and how that intersects with their moral and causal judgments. Coming from the other direction, I've had a long-standing interest in how children's causal judgments are influenced by their moral and Theory-of-Mind judgments.

Pic of Lily Guillot Lily Guillot One of my primary research interests is the puzzle of why people enjoy fiction that also upsets them. My studies are designed to investigate the "paradox of horror" and the "paradox of tragedy" through questions like: Why do we choose to watch movies that we know will make us feel sad or scared? How does this preference develop? What is the relationship between our enjoyment of a story and our emotional reaction to it? How might non-narrative elements (e.g. the audience's social environment, age, background, etc.) impact story preferences? I am also interested in the broader topic of why and how stories can be so appealing. Some of my current studies look at how we get involved in a story in the first place, why we identify with certain fictional characters over others, and fiction's role in our lives.

Pic of Mark Sheskin Mark Sheskin
My research interests are at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, particularly in the area of moral judgments. More generally, how does our evolutionary history as a species as well as our individual development through infancy and childhood influence the ways in which we think about the world? This question includes not only study of the processes by which we come to moral judgments, but also issues related to the non-moral assumptions that are commonly integral to moral issues.

Pic of Thalia Goldstein Thalia Goldstein
My research interests lie in how children and adolescents engage in, understand, and react to fictional and pretense worlds. I study how actors engage in fictional worlds onstage, the effects of such intense and prolonged engagement on the actor's social cognitive abilities, and how children understand and react to watching fictional worlds as audience members. I have been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (postdoctoral and dissertation grants), the American Psychological Foundation, and the Department of Homeland Security. I received my PhD from Boston College and my B.A. from Cornell University.
Pic of Jen Barnes Jen Barnes
In addition to being a graduate student in psychology, Jennifer Barnes is a writer of books for teens. She's interested in the cognitive science of fiction, how people understand and tell stories, and the development of understanding the concept of intellectual property.
Pic of Kiley Hamlin Kiley Hamlin
My main interest is in the ways that infants come to understand the minds and interactions of people around them. My research deals primarily with the moral cognitive abilities of infants, such as what infants understand about "good guys" and "bad guys." Additionally, I am interested in how young infants understand the intentions and goals of others, most especially those goals that go unrealized. I work primarily with Karen Wynn in the Infant Cognition Center.
Pic of Brian Earp Brian Earp
Brian Earp is a senior cognitive science major at Yale. His research has focused on the role of automatic stereotype effects in racial differences in academic achievement. He is also interested in philosophy of mind and the lessons of psychology for free will. Former editor of the Yale Philosophy Review, Brian now edits the Yale Review of Undergraduate Research in Psychology. Brian is also a professional actor and singer.
Pic of Izzat Jarudi Izzat Jarudi, Ph.D
I am interested in understanding morality (moral choice, judgment, emotions, and norms) using the tools and ideas of cognitive, social, and evolutionary psychology. My thesis work with Dr. Bloom focuses on issues of everyday moral judgment, including the moral evaluation of everyday objects, conservative concerns about moral purity, and moral objections to performance enhancement.
Pic of Jane Erickson Jane Erickson, Ph.D
My primary research interests lie in cognitive development with a focus on conceptual development, naive biology, and theory of mind. In particular, I am interested in the developmental origins of, and interaction between, naive biology and theory of mind. A current project is looking to see at what age children begin to distinguish biological from psychological phenomena. A second project seeks to discover whether or not children attribute intentionality to biological processes and how this may change throughout development.
Pic of Louisa Egan Louisa Egan, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor
Ford Center for Global Citizenship
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University
Koleen McCrink, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Psychology
Harvard University
Pic of Jane Erickson Erik Cheries, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Psychology
Harvard University
Pic of Jane Erickson Erika Nurmsoo, Ph.D.

Research Fellow
Department of Psychology
University of Warwick
Pic of Jane Erickson Melissa Allen Preissler, Ph.D.

School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences
University of Edinburgh
Pic of Jane Erickson Candice Mills, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
University of Texas at Dallas
Pic of Jane Erickson Judith Danovitch, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Michigan State University
Pic of Jane Erickson Susan Birch, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia
Pic of Jane Erickson Gil Diesendruck, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Bar-Ilan University
Pic of Jane Erickson Valerie Kuhlmeier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Queens University
Pic of Jane Erickson Kristy vanMarle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri - Columbia
Pic of Jane Erickson David Pizarro, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Cornell University

Pic of Jane Erickson Lori Markson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of California at Berkeley

Pic of Jane Erickson Deborah Kelemen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Boston University

Pic of Jane Erickson Deena Skolnick Weisberg

Postdoctoral Researcher
Center for Cognitive Science
Rutgers University

Pic of Jane Erickson Nic Noles

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

Pic of Jane Erickson Lawrence Williams

Assistant Professor
Leeds School of Business
University of Colorado at Boulder