Justin Wood

Associate Professor of Psychology

Contact Information
E-mail: justinnw@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2203
Office: SGM 501

Personal Website

Biographical Sketch

What are the origins of the mind? My lab examines the origins of knowledge by testing how cognition emerges during development and on an evolutionary timescale. We study the origins of a range of cognitive abilities using three cross-cutting approaches. First, we study how cognition functions in humans. Second, we study how cognition functions in nonhuman animals, such as birds and primates. Third, we study how cognition functions in newborn animals, who have no prior experience with the world. Currently, my lab focuses on five general cognitive abilities: (1) object recognition, (2) action recognition, (3) face recognition, (4) number representation, and (5) place recognition.


  • B.A. Psychology, University of Virginia, 6/2002
  • M.A. Psychology, Harvard University, 6/2005
  • Ph.D. Psychology, Harvard University, 6/2008

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 08/16/2008-  


    Journal Article
    • Goldman, J. G., Wood, J. N. (2015). An automated controlled-rearing method for studying the origins of movement recognition in newly hatched chicks. Animal Cognition. Vol. DOI 10.1007/s10071-015-0839-3
    • Wood, J. N. (2015). Characterizing the information content of a newly hatched chick’s first visual object representation. Developmental Science. Vol. 18 (2), pp. 194-205.
    • Wood, S. M., Wood, J. N. (2015). A chicken model for studying the emergence of invariant object recognition. Frontiers in Neural Circuits. Vol. 9 (7), pp. 1-12.
    • Wood, J. N. (2014). Newly hatched chicks solve the visual binding problem. Psychological Science. Vol. 25, pp. 1475-1481.
    • Wood, J. N. (2013). Newborn chickens generate invariant object representations at the onset of visual object experience. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 110 (34), pp. 14000-14005.
    • Urgolites, Z. J., Wood, J. N. (2013). Binding actions and scenes in visual long-term memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. (doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0440-1)
    • Urgolites, Z. J., Wood, J. N. (2013). Visual long-term memory stores high-fidelity representations of observed actions. Psychological Science. Vol. 24 (4), pp. 403-411.
    • Wood, J. N. (2011). When do spatial and visual working memory interact?. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. Vol. 73, pp. 420-439.
    • Hyde, D., Wood, J. N. (2011). Spatial attention determines the nature of non-verbal numerical cognition. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Vol. 23 (9), pp. 2336-2351.
    • Wood, J. N. (2011). A core knowledge architecture of visual working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Vol. 37 (2), pp. 357-381.
    • Endress, A., Wood, J. N. (2011). From movements to actions: Two mechanisms for learning action sequences. Cognitive Psychology. Vol. 63, pp. 141-171.
    • Hauser, M. D., Wood, J. N. (2010). Evolving the capacity to understand actions, intentions and goals. Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 61, pp. 303-324.
    • Wood, J. N. (2010). Visual working memory retains movement information within an allocentric reference frame. Visual Cognition. Vol. 10, pp. 1464-1485.
    • Wood, J. N. (2009). Distinct Visual Working Memory Systems for View-Dependent and View-Invariant Representation. PLoS ONE. Vol. 4 (8)
    • Wood, J. N., Kouider, S., Carey, S. (2009). Acquisition of Singular–Plural Morphology. Developmental Psychology. Vol. 45 (1), pp. 202-206.
    • Wood, J. N., Hauser, M. D. (2008). Action comprehension in nonhuman primates: Motor simulation or inferential reasoning?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Vol. 12 (12), pp. 461-465.
    • Wood, J. N. (2008). Visual memory for agents and their actions. Cognition. Vol. 108, pp. 522-532.
    • Barner, D., Wood, J. N., Hauser, M. D., Carey, S. (2008). Wild rhesus monkeys compute the singular-plural distinction. Cognition. Vol. 107, pp. 603-622.
    • Wood, J. N., Glynn, D. D., Hauser, M. D. (2008). Rhesus Monkeys' Understanding of Actions and Goals. Social Neuroscience. Vol. 3 (1), pp. 60-68.
    • Wood, J. N., Hauser, M. D., Glynn, D. D., Barner, D. (2008). Free-ranging rhesus monkeys spontaneously individuate and enumerate small numbers of non-solid portions. Cognition. Vol. 106, pp. 207-221.
    • Wood, J. N. (2007). Visual working memory for observed actions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Vol. 136 (4), pp. 639-652.
    • Wood, J. N., Glynn, D. D., Philips, B., Hauser, M. D. (2007). The perception of rational, goal-directed action in non-human primates. Science. Vol. 317 (5843), pp. 1402-1405.
    • Wood, J. N., Glynn, D. D., Hauser, M. D. (2007). The uniquely human capacity to throw evolved from a non-throwing primate: An evolutionary dissociation between action and perception. Biology Letters. Vol. 3 (4), pp. 360-364.
    • Hauser, M. D., Glynn, D. D., Wood, J. N. (2007). Wild, untrained and non-enculturated rhesus monkeys correctly read the goal-relevant gestures of a human agent. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B.. Vol. 274 (1620), pp. 1913-1918.
    • Stevens, J., Wood, J. N., Hauser, M. D. (2007). When quantity trumps number: discrimination experiments in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinas oedipus) and common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Animal Cognition. Vol. 10, pp. 429-437.
    • Barner, D., Thalwitz, D., Wood, J. N., Carey, S. (2007). Children's ability to distinguish "one" from "more than one" and the acquisition of singular-plural morpho-syntax. Developmental Science. Vol. 10 (7), pp. 365-373.
    • Kouider, S., Halberda, J., Wood, J. N., Carey, S. (2006). Acquisition of English number marking: The singular-plural distinction. Language Learning & Development. Vol. 2 (1), pp. 1-25.
    • Wood, J. N., Spelke, E. S. (2005). Chronometric studies of numerical cognition in five-month-old infants. Cognition. Vol. 97, pp. 23-39.
    • Wood, J. N., Spelke, E. S. (2005). Infants’ enumeration of actions: numerical discrimination and its signature limits. Developmental Science. Vol. 8 (2), pp. 173-181.

    Honors and Awards

    • Excellence in Teaching Award for General Education, 2010-2011   
    • New Investigator Award, awarded by the American Psychological Association, 2007-2008   

  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2203