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The Development of Socio-Cognitive Abilities (completed)

Socio-cognitive ability refers to how we understand, react to, and reflect on others as well as on ourselves. This Project focuses on how infants’ cognitive abilities develop through childhood and the importance of its social context.

Photo: Stock.xchng

About the project

When developing treatment for infants and school children who struggle with social relations and school work, it is important to understand more of the basic factors that regulate brain development. Our perspective is that the biological predispositions will be effective only after experience or simulation. The project investigates how early, and under what conditions, infants learn to draw conclusions about social events. What happens if an action is manipulated and is given an unexpected outcome? How do children develop their reactions to different emotional expressions? What is the relation between critical periods for skill acquisition and the plasticity of the brain? Does the brain have special mirror neurons that help the child understand other people’s actions?

To study these questions, we use both direct methods as recordings of eye movements and video observations, interviews, and indirect methods like EEG.

Both typically developing infants and infants at risk participate in these studies. We use cross sectional methods as well as prospective longitudinal designs.


Through the study of infants’ brain activity and function, we learn more about human cognition in general. The studies will specifically contribute to more knowledge of how our own personality develops and how infants perceive different social contexts. Such knowledge is needed in order to be able to give advice about what is in the best interest of infants, for instance in discussions of measures to take after divorces and separations. Theoretically, the project is important for modifying our models of cognitive development.

Published Dec. 3, 2010 1:26 PM - Last modified Sep. 8, 2021 11:57 AM