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

Helena Wippick is the lab manager for the SCD Lab. 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. 


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Lisa Chalik is a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham and Karen Wynn. She completed her PhD at NYU, where she worked with Marjorie Rhodes. Her research investigates the development of intergroup cognition, primarily focusing on how infants and young children incorporate social categories into their moral judgments.

Nadia Chernyak is 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 mainly works at Boston University with Peter Blake and Boston College with Sara Cordes.


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 working with Dr. Dunham. Fan is interested in social cognitive development, especially children’s understanding about groups and mental states. Fan also investigates how culture influences development by conducting cross-cultural studies in America and China.

Graduate Students

Richard Ahl is a fifth-year Ph.D. student at Yale. He studies how children use information about others’ preferences to inform their social judgments. Specifically, how might children differentially value information about others’ likes vs. dislikes? He is also interested in exploring the reasons underlying children’s social preferences for resource-rich individuals. Rick also works with Frank Keil in the Cognition and Development Lab.

Dorsa Amir is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Yale biological anthropology department. She studies the extent to which culture and ecology can impact cognition, how individuals may utilize environmental cues to make decisions, and how these processes change across development. To provide a cross-cultural perspective, Dorsa conducts fieldwork with hunter-horticulturalists of the Ecuadorean Amazon as part of the Shuar Health and Life History Project

Ashley Jordan is a third-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 third-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.

Gina Roussos is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Social Psychology program working mainly with Jack Dovidio but also with Yarrow Dunham. Her work at the SCD Lab examines the development of prejudice and stereotyping in preschool age children.


Xin (Kate) Yang is a first-year Ph.D. student at Yale. She recently graduated with a B.S. in psychology from Tsinghua University in China. Kate is broadly interested in intergroup social cognition, human cooperation, and morality. More specifically, she is interested in how children and adults develop intergroup bias, and how intergroup thinking interplays with human cognition and behavior. Kate is always fascinated by the psychology of prejudice, discrimination, and inequality. And she strives to reduce them. Apart from research, Kate enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, reading books, and making friends.



Martha Fitch Little is an intern from Bath University in the UK working in the SCD Lab for the year as part of their third year of their undergraduate program back home. Having always been interested how the social groups we see in the world come about and interact with one another, she feels very lucky to have found a placement that studies exactly this. In her spare time she can be found making elaborate vegetarian meals, losing at Settlers of Catan or singing to herself or at Trini.

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Trini Chan is  is an intern from Bath University in the UK working in the SCD Lab for the year as part of their third year of their undergraduate program back home. 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, harmonising with Martha and booking flights on a whim.


Bianca Li is a junior undergraduate student at Yale University majoring in cognitive science. 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.

Sidney Saint-Hilaire is a sophomore 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. 

Lab Alumni

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.