I study how infants and young children come to understand the world and the role that others play in introducing them to the world. My work is particularly concerned with shared intentionality and the question of how children come to learn that objects (things, events etc.) can be viewed or experienced from different perspectives. In a related line of work I examine young children's understanding of unrealized possibilities, including counterfactual and future events. My most recent research focuses on preschoolers in contexts of teaching and learning. These empirical investigations have been funded by the German National Merit Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.
My studies are informed by insights from philosophy of mind, philosophy of education, and philosophical anthropology. With my colleagues from philosophy (especially Andrea Kern, University of Leipzig), I have argued that human thought and action are species-unique from the beginning of life because humans have a distinctly relational and interdependent nature. Funding for these inquiries into human nature have come from the Saxonian Academy of the Sciences, the Templeton Foundation (John Templeton Fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study), and, most recently, the Spencer Foundation (Midcareer Grant).
Please see the MID.LA website for what we do in our child research lab at USC.