In the Cognition, Culture, and Development Lab, we study the ontogeny of cultural learning. Our team of cognitive developmental scientists studies the interplay of our universal mind and the variation of human culture.

The lab is directed by Dr. Legare, and is located in the psychology department at The University of Texas at Austin. The other members of the Cognition, Culture, and Development Laboratory are:
 

Research Scientists


Aiyana Willard, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her doctorate in social psychology from the University of British Columbia. Her research interests focus around how basic cognitive functions, such as mind perception and causal reasoning, and cultural environments come together to create complex belief systems. She has conducted research on the religious, spiritual but not religious, and non-religious in North America and Europe, and is currently exploring the prevalence, causes, and consequences of witchcraft and karma beliefs around the world. She conducts field research in Fiji, where she works with Hindu, Muslim, and Christian populations exploring the bonds and divisions between religious and ethnic identities.

 

Graduate Students


Justin Busch, M.A., is a fourth year Ph.D. student at UT Austin. He received his B.A. in 2009 from the University of Colorado, Boulder in ecology and evolutionary biology and his M.A. in psychology in 2015 from UT Austin. Prior to coming to UT, he worked as a research assistant at the University of Colorado and Columbia University. Justin’s research interests include intuitive causal reasoning and studying religious cognition from an evolutionary perspective. He is also interested in science education.

Nicole Wen, M.A., is a fourth year Ph.D. student at UT Austin. She graduated from UT Austin in 2013 with a B.S. in Psychology, a B.A. in Plan II Honors, and a minor in history.She received her M.A. in Psychology in 2015 from UT Austin. Nicole's research interests include the development of social cognition and examining the imitative foundations of cultural learning. She is interested in examining the effects of social conventions on children’s social group cognition in order to understand how rituals facilitate group cohesion and identity formation. 

Emily Little is a fifth year Ph.D. student at UC San Diego, where she is working in Professor Leslie Carver's Developmental Neuroscience Lab. She is currently a visiting student researcher in the CCD Lab at UT Austin. Emily received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2010. Her research interests include how parent-infant interactions relate to early cognitive development in different cultural contexts.

Sarah Davis, M.Sc., is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of St Andrews under the supervision of Professor Andrew Whiten. She graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2012 with a B.Sc. in Psychology. She received her M.Sc. in 2013 from Queen's University Belfast in Atypical Child Development. Sarah's research interests include the evolution of culture with a comparative focus on behavioral flexibility in chimpanzees and children.

 

Research Assistants

  • Alexander Abbott
  • Andrew Arriaga
  • Mahera Badat
  • Aurora Brinkman
  • Zac Buckingham
  • Michaela Caughy
  • Aditi Chalise
  • Shihyin Chung
  • Emily Cruz
  • Sally Do
  • Stephanie Estrera
  • Nick Gatz
  • Taylor George
  • Tiffany Huynh
  • Daniel Ikejimba
  • Ana Jacome
  • Bonnie Johnson
  • Elena Keltner
  • Sarah Kim
  • Andi Liang
  • Gaby Morgan
  • Anh Nguyen
  • Yasmeen Nofal
  • Ashley Pham
  • Shu Jie Ting

Former Ph.D. Students & Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Jennifer Clegg, Ph.D., is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Boston University. She received her Ph.D. from UT Austin in 2016.
    Personal website →
  • Daniel Conroy-Beam, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at UC Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. from UT Austin in 2016.
    Personal website →
  • Patricia Herrmann, Patricia Herrmann, Ph.D., is a Systems Analyst at Broadband Interactive. She has a doctorate in cognitive science from Northwestern University and was a postdoctoral researcher at UT Austin from 2011–2013.
  • Frances R. Morales, M.A., is currently employed as a mental health care practitioner. She received her M.A. at UT Austin in 2015.
  • Andre L. Souza, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. from UT Austin in 2012.
    Personal website →
  • Rachel Watson-Jones, Ph.D. is a usability senior engineer at Dell. She has a doctorate in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology from the University of Oxford and was a visiting graduate student and postdoctoral researcher at UT Austin from 2011–2015.
    Personal website →

Former Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Adrian Abellanoza
  • Niki Akhaveissy
  • Adam Alcott, B.A.
  • Andrea Argueta, B.A. Research Assistant in the Children's Learning Institute, Department of Pediatrics, UT Health Science Center
  • Sara Baird, M.S.W., therapist at Austin Child Guidance Center
  • Joseph Barron, B.A. graduate student in school psychology at UT Austin
  • Erica Beall,M.A., Asst. Prof. at St. John's College, Annapolis
  • Bethelhem Belachew
  • Anuj Bhutani
  • Casey Brown, B.S., assistant director at The Goddard School
  • Molly Callahan, B.A., therapist at Center for Autism and Related Disorders
  • Carmen Cardenas
  • Jayson Alex Carr
  • Victoria Chapman, B.A., master’s student in counseling at St. Edwards
  • Jessica Chavarria
  • Nitza Chavez
  • Christine Chevis, B.A.
  • Grace Cicardo
  • Stephani Clayton, B.A.
  • Brittani Cobb
  • Kellie Connors, B.A., insurance broker at MDO Insurance
  • Benjamin Cox, M.A.
  • Courtney Crosby
  • Katherine Cullum, B.A. (former lab manager) doctoral student in clinical psychology at Emory University
  • Nathan Davis, M.A., community manager at Siminars.com
  • Maria Renee de Leon
  • Monika Demkowicz, B.S., master’s student in marriage and family counseling at Texas State
  • Emma Denning
  • Daniel Dosal-Terminal
  • Cissé Dramé, M.A., graduate student in counseling psychology, Texas A and M International University
  • Leah Duran
  • Emily Eck
  • Sabrina Elddine, M.S.W., counselor at San Diego High School
  • Alexander Etz, B.A., former lab manager
  • Jennifer Feld, M.H.A., project manager at Rush/Stroger Primary Care Residency Program
  • Hannah Fipp-Rosenfield
  • Adrienne Fowler, M.A., commercial analyst at ConocoPhillips
  • Sonali Gadkari, M.S., organizational development consultant for Marathon Oil
  • Claudia Garate, B.A., master’s student in social work at University of Texas at Austin
  • Nicole Garner
  • Chelsea Goforth, M.A., doctoral student in political psychology at the University of Virginia
  • Stephanie Gonzalez
  • Lauren Gragg, B.A., preschool teacher at The Goddard School
  • Erin Griffin, M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology, and works as a speech-language pathologist in the West Contra Costa School District
  • Paige Hartman, Doctoral student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Auburn University
  • Eric Harvey, B.A., doctoral student in neuroscience at UCLA
  • Quinn Hirschi
  • Lacey Hutchison, Ed.S. program for Child, Family, and School Psychology at the University of Denver
  • Eunice Iyalho
  • Milla Impola, B.A., campaign manager at Camino Public Relations
  • Nicole Jacobs
  • Ana Jacome
  • Irene Jea
  • Katie Jean, B.A.
  • Anna Johnson, B.A., master’s student in social work at University of Houston
  • Michelle Jorgenson, B.A., preschool teacher at Child's Day
  • Elena Keltner
  • Alicia Kiattinat
  • Andrea Kiss, M.S., doctoral student in clinical psychology at The University of Toledo
  • Starr La Salde, B.A., Emergency Medical Services, City of Austin
  • Emily Lang
  • Abby Lavine, B.A., doctoral student in developmental psychology at UC Davis
  • Michael Leberknight
  • Lindsey Leggett
  • Shirley Li
  • Riley Little, B.S. medical student at the University of Texas at Houston
  • Joel Lucio
  • Christin Lusk, B.A.
  • Daniel Martinez, B.S., masters student in social work at University of Denver
  • Kaitlin McLaughlin, B.A., associate director of development at Parish School
  • Sarah Mohkamkar, B.A. law student at UT Austin
  • Shama Momin
  • Valerie Moreno
  • Linzi Moss, B.S., medical student at Texas Tech
  • Wanja Muturi
  • Anisa Nabily
  • Victoria Nava, B.A., pre-service teacher at UT
  • Rebecca Nekolaichuk, B.S.
  • Dorothy Pang
  • Priyanka Patel
  • Alexa Perlick
  • Patty Phewklieng
  • Leigh Plummer, B.A. (former lab manager), Life Coach and Blogger at www.leighplummer.com
  • Cam Plummer, B.A, B.S.N., R.N., telemetry nurse in Boise, Idaho
  • Bella Prines
  • Elyssa Proby, B.A.
  • McKenzie Ratcliff
  • Annabel Reeves
  • Graciela Rodriguez
  • Tiffany Roshanian,B.A., Manager of Office Operations at BucketFeet
  • Michelle Ross
  • Naomi Schwendemann, B.A., MSW student at Portland State University
  • Jenna Segraves, DPT, M.A., physical therapist at Total Body Therapy & Wellness, Raleigh, NC.
  • Hyunji Seo
  • Yinjing Shen, Ph.D. (former postdoctoral research fellow)
  • Swathi Sridhar
  • Ariana Stern-Luna, B.A., master’s student in counseling at University of North Texas
  • Kasia Szostak
  • Sarah Talaat
  • Bryn Terry
  • Reethika Thakkalapally
  • Tara Thankachan
  • Lukas Thompson, B.A., teacher for La Esperanza Granada
  • Allison Tsao
  • Monica Vela
  • Viviana Wan, B.A., Team Lead, Client Services at The Honest Company
  • Holly Weir
  • Emily Withrow
  • Brooke Wooley, M.A., doctoral student at Murdoch University
  • Rebecca Yasskin, B.A., teacher at The University of Texas Child Development Center
  • Debbie Yeh
  • Rithika Yogeshwarun
  • Estel Yoo
  • Chloe Yu
  • Maya Zein, B.S., tennis instructor for Westside Tennis and Fitness

Collaborators

  • Coren Apicella, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Quentin Atkinson, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland
  • Colin Bannard, Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society, University of Liverpool
  • Amy Booth, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Maureen Callanan, Department of Psychology, UC Santa Cruz
  • E. Margaret Evans, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
  • Susan Gelman, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • Alison Gopnik, Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley
  • Paul Harris, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University
  • Daniel Haun, Department of Early Child Development and Culture, University of Leipzig
  • Annette Henderson, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland
  • Joe Henrich, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Gail Heyman, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
  • Joscha Kärtner, Institute of Psychology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Tania Lombrozo, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
  • Candice Mills, Department of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Mark Nielsen, Department of Psychology, University of Queensland
  • Ara Norenzayan, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia
  • Paul Rozin, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
  • David Sobel, Cognitive, Linguistics & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
  • André L. Souza, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama
  • Caren Walker, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
  • Henry Wellman, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • Harvey Whitehouse, Department of Anthropology, University of Oxford
 

Lab Pictures