Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology
- Tutorial Fellow, New College, Oxford
I am a developmental psychologist who studies social cognition and motivation in early ontogeny from the first year of life to school-age: How young children’s understanding of the social world shapes their own behaviour to initiate, maintain, and repair cooperative relationships with others.
Together with my colleagues we have designed integrative experimental paradigms that allow us to assess children’s internal states and subtle emotional expressions while they engage with their peers in naturalistic study designs. We use eye tracking, pupillometry, and depth sensor imaging to capture the internal mechanisms that underlie young children’s (pro)social motivation.
Current Research Grants
The affective mechanisms underlying joint attention and joint action in infancy and toddlerhood (Co-PI: Dr. Christine Michel)
German Research Foundation, DFG (2020 - 2023)
Social interaction targets enhance 13-month-old infants' associative learning.
Thiele M. et al, (2021), Infancy
Toddlers Prefer Adults as Informants: 2- and 3-Year-Olds' Use of and Attention to Pointing Gestures From Peer and Adult Partners.
Kachel G. et al, (2021), Child Dev
Young children share more under time pressure than after a delay.
Plötner M. et al, (2021), PLoS One, 16
The Study of Prosocial Emotions in Early Childhood: Unique Opportunities and Insights
Hepach R. and Vaish A., (2020), EMOTION REVIEW, 12, 278 - 279
Young children show positive emotions when seeing someone get the help they deserve
Hepach R. and Tomasello M., (2020), Cognitive Development, 56