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


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.


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Jan Engelmann is a Marie-Curie postdoctoral fellow. He received his PhD in developmental and comparative Psychology from the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, working primarily with Michael Tomasello. Jan's research focuses on cooperative social relationships. He conducts empirical research with human children and chimpanzees on topics such as reputation management, trust, and friendship. In particular, he is interested in how individuals recruit valuable collaborative partners, how they establish trust, and how they maintain profitable partnerships over the long-term. The ultimate goal of his work is to understand how social relationships contribute to - but also often stand in the way of - a morality that aims at equal treatment for all.

Fan Yang is a post-doctoral researcher at Yale. Fan is broadly interested in the moral and social forces that transform negative self instincts to promote optimal outcomes for individuals and society at large. Fan's recent projects in the SCD lab focus on early expectations and behaviors to promote the common good, as well as how morality is perceived as essential for happiness. You may find more about her research in her personal website.

Graduate Students

Ashley Jordan is a fourth-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 fourth-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 second-year Ph.D. student at Yale. Her research interest lies in the intersection of intergroup social cognition, cooperation, and morality. More specifically, she is interested in investigating the causes and consequences of intergroup biases, as well as how intergroup thinking interacts with moral reasoning. Ultimately, by uncovering the interplay of group, cooperative, and moral concerns, she hopes to reduce prejudice, promote cooperation, and create a more just world. Apart from research, she enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, reading books, and making friends.


Emily Gerdin is a second-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.



Allison Bradshaw is a senior thesis student at the SCD Lab. She is interested in how children's gender identity affects their social decision-making. Outside of the lab, Allison is the president of Groove Dance Company and helps run a record label. She also enjoys writing and oversharing on the internet (on her blog). 


Bianca Li is a senior thesis student in the SCD lab. Her current interests are in language acquisition, particularly bilingualism in young children, the cognitive processes behind this capability, and how children navigate and perceive their bilingualism. Apart from being an RA in the SCD lab, Bianca is a member of the Yale Mock Trial Association, where she finds profound joy in arguing fake cases as a fake attorney with fake witnesses. Her other hobbies include running and misplacing her phone several times per day.


Haja Kamara is a thesis student in the SCD lab. Her interests include how children understand themselves as members of groups, and how they understand concepts such as group formation and friendship. Outside of the lab, Haja is a member of the Yale Exit Players, Yale’s oldest improv comedy group, a Communication and Consent Educator, and a Teaching Assistant at Wexler-Grant School.

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Haley Hegefeld is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College, majoring in Psychology. She works concurrently in the SCD Lab and the CANDLab with Professor Dylan Gee. She is particularly interested in how psychological disorders emerge in adolescence and what mechanisms can protect them from this. She hopes to one day work as a clinical psychologist for adolescent women. In her free time, Haley helps run Christian Union at Yale, dances with Groove Dance Company, and watches lots of movies at the Bow Tie Criterion.

Sidney Saint-Hilaire is a junior studying Cognitive Science. He's fascinated by the psychology of social networks, race, and inequality. He found his interest in learning and education working at the SCD lab his first year. Outside of the SCD lab, Sidney is on board for the Black Student Alliance at Yale and his spoken poetry group, WORD, and is a part of the Yale Debate team. 

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Luisa Graden is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Political Science. She is passionate about the role of psychology research in informing social justice activism, especially in educational and criminal justice settings. Outside the lab, Luisa is active in probono immigration law and manages a nonprofit that connects community members to social services. 


Vanessa Liu is a junior in Pauli Murray College, majoring in psychology down the neuroscience track. Along with working the SCD Lab, this semester Vanessa will be conducting neuroscience focused research in Jane Taylor's lab at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She is interested in the social development of children, specifically in cooperation and relationship building. Outside of the lab, Vanessa enjoys volunteering and working with children. She is a member of CASPY (Chinese Adopted Siblings at Yale), a mentor at a local New Haven middle school, and is a part of Y2Y New Haven.

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Ilayda Orhan is a sophomore 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. 


Ragna Nass is 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 is 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.

Lab Alumni

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.