Lab Director

Yarrow Dunham is an assistant professor of psychology and cognitive science and the director of the SCD Lab. He completed his doctorate at Harvard University working with Mahzarin Banaji and Susan Carey, and has previously taught at Princeton and UC Merced. Outside the research world, his interests include exploring the great outdoors, the NBA, growing things in the garden, and an unhealthy obsession with his cat Zoe.

Lab Manager

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Sophie Arnold is the lab manager for the SCD Lab. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2018 with a joint degree in Psychology and Economics. She is interested in how children learn generalizations about their own group and other groups and how these group based beliefs effect individual's behavior.

Graduate Students

Ashley Jordan is a fifth-year Ph.D. student working with Yarrow Dunham and Karen Wynn. Broadly speaking, she is interested in how infants and young children think about social partners and group membership. In the SCD lab, her research focuses on how children weigh category-level and individual-level information when reasoning about others’ relationships. Additionally, she studies how social messages from adults impact early preferences for similar others.

Alexander Noyes is a fifth-year Ph.D. student working with Yarrow Dunham and Frank Keil. He is primarily interested in concepts-categories and their relationship to causal reasoning. In Professor Dunham's lab, he explores children and adult's causal beliefs about social categories, such as race and gender.


Xin (Kate) Yang is a third-year Ph.D. student at Yale. Her research interest lies in the intersection of intergroup social cognition, cooperation, and inequality. More specifically, she is interested in investigating the causes and consequences of intergroup biases, how intergroup thinking interacts with cooperation and moral reasoning, as well as inequalities and structural constraints. Ultimately, sheI hopes her work will help with combating biases, promoting cooperation, reducing inequality, and creating a more just world. Apart from research, she enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, reading books, and making friends.


Emily Gerdin is a third-year Ph.D. student working with Yarrow Dunham and Paul Bloom. Broadly, she is interested in children’s moral and social development. More specifically, she is fascinated by religion as a social category. Her work with Professor Dunham considers whether and why religions (as well as other belief-based categories) operate differently from other kinds of social categories. Outside of the lab, Emily is an avid baker and board game enthusiast.


Pinar Aldan is a first year Ph.D. student at Yale. She is broadly interested in understanding how infants and children interpret social structures and categories. During her years as a Ph.D. student she is planning to focus on understanding under which circumstances people decide to cooperate, form alliances or learn from each other, and how their social partners’ social identities affect this decision process. In her spare time, she enjoys reading comic books and taking long walks.


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Kayleigh Parsons is an intern from Cardiff University in the UK working in the SCD lab for the 2019-2020 academic year. Her main interest is in morality, and the influence of groups on how individuals develop moral beliefs. She is also interested in prosocial behaviour, and what causes individuals to act in a prosocial way. In her spare time, she enjoys looking for all the best coffee shops, reading feminist novels, and exploring the outdoors.


Anna-Katrine Sussex is an intern from the University of Bath in the UK working in the SCD lab for the 2019-2020 academic year. She is interested in the influence of empathy on both individual and group interactions. In her free time she enjoys travelling, archery and reading dystopian novels.

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Allie Schneider is a junior in Saybrook College majoring in Cognitive Science. Her focus is on social cognition and education, and she is particularly interested in exploring the way that Cognitive Science research can be used to enhance learning outcomes and educational equity. Outside the lab, Allie manages the Yale branch of Matriculate, a national nonprofit providing college application support and guidance to low-income, high-achieving high school students across the country. She also is a member of A Different Drum Dance Company at Yale.

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Gabi Seo is a senior majoring in Cognitive Science. She is interested in resilience and teamwork and is currently working on her thesis, which explores children’s concepts of social groups. Outside of the lab, Gabi coxes for the Men’s Lightweight Crew team and does improv with The Purple Crayon of Yale. She enjoys running and painting in her free time.

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Francesco Scarpetta is a junior in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in Cognitive science from Paris, France. His focus is in social decision-making, looking at how both economic and cognitive elements contribute to judgment. Outside the lab, Francesco is a brand ambassador for Snackpass, a mobile food app founded at Yale, and is an active member of the Yale Francophone Society. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and cooking.

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Ilayda Orhan is a junior majoring in Cognitive Science from Istanbul, Turkey. She is interested in the ways of manipulating established in-group/out-group mechanisms to create a better, more cooperative and inclusive world. She is also interested in the nature of conspiracy theories and the impact they have upon intergroup thinking and moral reasoning. Outside the lab, Ilayda works with Yale UNICEF in order to hopefully make a positive impact in the lives of New Haven kids through various community outreach projects. One of her hobbies is having deep philosophical conversations over coffee. 

Lab Alumni


Fan Yang was a postdoctoral associate working with Yarrow Dunham. Fan is interested in the moral and motivational tendencies that helps us transcend ourselves. She studies how we solve moral conflicts and the role of morality in happiness. Fan is currently a Research Assistant Professor at University of Chicago.


Allison Bradshaw was a former RA and senior thesis student at the SCD Lab in 2019. She is currently a Research Assistant at the UT Dallas Baby Brain Lab under PI Meghan Swanson, where she is working on a project studying how caregiver communication affects infants' cognitive development. She is broadly interested in children's social cognitive development, and specifically interested in children's ideas about gender and how this changes over development.


Ragna Nass was an intern from the University of Bath in the UK working in the SCD lab for the 2018-2019 academic year. She is interested in how social categories, especially gender, affect social behavior. She enjoys traveling, reading good books and large cups of coffee.


Laura Rodriguez was an intern from Bath University in the UK working in the SCD Lab for the 2018-2019 academic year. She speak 3 languages, and, in her free time, her interests include discovering new coffee places, the NBA, reading, and organizing many travelling projects.

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Jan Engelmann, having spent a wonderful year as a post doctoral research fellow in the Social Cognitive Development Lab, has moved to UC Berkeley, where he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Jan studies social reasoning in human children and chimpanzees.

Helena Wippick was the lab manager for the SCD Lab from 2016-2018. She graduated from Bard College in 2016 with a degree in psychology. She is interested in the development of social category concepts and intergroup cognition. 

Gina Roussos recieved her Ph. D. from Yale University in Social Psychology where she worked with Jack Dovidio and Yarrow Dunham. Her work at the SCD Lab examined the development of prejudice and stereotyping in preschool age children.

Nadia Chernyak was a postdoctoral researcher. She received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University. Her previous research has focused on how children form ideas about choice, and how choice might meaningfully relate to our emerging prosocial behavior. Presently, she is interested generally in social reciprocity, numerical cognition, and prosocial behavior across the early to middle childhood range. She is now an Assistant Professor at Cognitive Sciences Dept at the University of California - Irvine.

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Lisa Chalik was a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham and Karen Wynn. Her research investigates the development of intergroup cognition, primarily focusing on how young children incorporate social categories into their moral judgments. She is now an assistant professor at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women.

Richard Ahl was a Ph.D. student at Yale. His work in the SCD lab surrounded children's expectations regarding the giving of resource-rich and resource-poor people.  Rick also worked with Frank Keil in the Cognition and Development Lab on how children reason about complex artifacts. He is currently a post doctoral researcher in the Cooperation lab at Boston College

Dorsa Amir was a graduate student in the Yale biological anthropology department. Her research adopts a cross-cultural and developmental perspective to explore the role of the local environment in adaptively shaping behavior and preferences. Currently, she is a post doctoral researcher in the Cooperation lab at Boston College where she investigates cross-cultural variation in the development of risk & time preferences, early life socioeconomic effects on behavior, and the role of scarcity in cognitive development. 

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Trini Chan was an intern from Bath University in the UK working in the SCD Lab for the 2017-2018 academic year. She is currently finishing her undergraduate studies back in the UK. She is interested in the development of children’s social networks and, having spent a year living in Japan, the way cultural influences affect this. In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton, harmonizing with Martha and booking flights on a whim.


Martha Fitch Little was an intern from Bath University in the UK working in the SCD Lab for the 2017-2018 academic year. She is currently finishing her undergraduate studies back in the UK. In her spare time she can be found making elaborate vegetarian meals, losing at Settlers of Catan or singing to herself or at Trini.

Antonia Misch was a postdoctoral fellow in the SCD lab. She completed her Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, working primarily with Malinda Carpenter and Harriet Over. She studies the development of intergroup cognition in children.

You-jung Choi was a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham, Laurie Santos, and Karen Wynn. She now works at Harvard with Elizabeth Spelke Her main research area is social cognitive development in infancy and early childhood. Specifically, she studies development of theory of mind understanding and moral reasoning.

Jonathan Schulz was a postdoctoral fellow in the SCD lab, having previously worked at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on cross-cultural differences in social norms and decision making. He is currently a research associate at Harvard University with Joe Henrich at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He has conducted experiments all around the globe, investigating societal differences in intrinsic honesty and cooperation. He is particularly interested in the permeability of societies' network structures and its effect on moral behavior.

Shirley Duong graduated from the University of New Haven. She is interested in children's social group affiliations and biases. She was an RA in the SCD Lab working with Richard Ahl and Alexander Noyes. She now works as a lab manager at Jonathan Beier's lab for Early Social Cognition at University of Maryland. 

Nathan Vasquez was a participant in the ESI Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program working with Dr. Dunham. In the SCD lab he studied how group membership influenced children's beliefs about others. Nathan is now a graduate student with Kristin Shutts and Chuck Kalish at University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

Shaina Coogan was the former lab manager for the SCD Lab. She graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University in 2013 with a degree in psychology. In fall 2016, Shaina will begin a Master of Public Health program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Marina Ebert worked on a study of the developmental origins of gratitude and its effects on prosocial behavior, specifically focused on distinguishing the complex emotion of gratitude from generally positive mood and whether feeling gratitude may lead to a greater chance of helping a stranger. In addition, Marina is conducting an evaluation of a novel assessment of mood and emotion understanding among young children. She is currently a researcher at Harvard’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies focusing on musical cognition. When not involved in research, Marina enjoys leading kids’ yoga lessons and dancing adult Argentine tango.

Suzanne Horwitz was a graduate student in the Yale social psychology department working with John Dovidio. Broadly, her research examines the role that social psychological processes play in perpetuating societal wealth inequality. She is currently completing her dissertation on the causes and consequences of implicit wealth bias. In the fall of 2015, she will begin as a postdoctoral researcher with Balazs Kovacs.

Katherine McAuliffe was a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham and Laurie Santos. She studies fairness from a developmental and evolutionary perspective. She is now an Assistant Professor at Boston College.

Alexander Dieball was a Visiting Assistant in Research from the University of Göttingen, Germany. He worked on a project concerning children’s understanding of normality with Joshua Knobe and Yarrow Dunham, combining the disciplines of experimental philosophy and social cognitive development. In his spare time, he reassess European prejudices about American culture.