Our Team

The Development of Social Cognition Laboratory currently has two research sites!

We are moving from Cornell University to the University of Chicago, but will continue to have active projects ongoing at Cornell through 2020.

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Professor, Department of Psychology

Deputy Dean, Division of the social Sciences

THE University of Chicago

Visiting Professor at Cornell University

Professor Kinzler’s research investigates the development of social cognition, with particular emphasis on exploring infants’ and children’s attention to the language and accent with which others speak as a marker of group membership. She is also interested in the development of face perception, social categories, empathy, cultural learning, and trust.

Molly C. Gibian


Molly oversees all research projects, develops strategic partnerships, coordinates off-site collaborations, and manages undergraduate research assistants. She has worked in neuroscience and psychology research for Wellesley College, M.I.T., Harvard Medical School, and Boston University. She is currently dual-site at both Cornell and the University of Chicago. Her research interests focus on societal/cultural influences on cognition and the development of social understanding regarding gender, leadership, and value systems.

Graduate Students

Primary Advisees

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Isobel A. Heck (UChicago)

Isobel is a third-year Ph.D. student. She is broadly interested in how children come to understand themselves in relation to others. Currently, she is focused on the formation of group-based attitudes, children's thinking about social norms, and individual and cultural differences in children’s developing social behaviors and insights.

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Radhika Santhanagopolan (UCHICAGO)

Radhika is a third-year Ph.D. student interested in studying language and accent as group markers. Her research also explores the development of children’s negotiation skills, and ideas about resource entitlement. She is currently pursuing cross-cultural work examining how children conceptualize leadership and nationality in different cultural contexts.



Rachel is a second-year student in the Social Psychology Ph.D. program. She is broadly interested in the development of social categorization and intergroup biases. Currently, Rachel is particularly interested the development of beliefs about socioeconomic status and social mobility. She also hopes to design and test interventions to reduce intergroup biases in both children and adults.


Kaila Scott-Charles (UCHICAGO)

Kaila is a first-year Ph.D student and is interested in the emergence of social group preferences and intergroup attitudes in children. She is particularly interested in the development of children’s conceptualization of race, ethnicity, and class and how they use this understanding to make decisions and form judgements about others. She is currently focused on how parents talk to their children about taboo topics such as race and wealth, and how this may influence children's attitudes, judgements, and beliefs.


Reut Vraneski (Cornell)

Reut is a first-year Ph.D. student in Human Development with Lin Bian. She is interested in the development of social bias and stereotyping, and its influences on children’s self-concept and motivation. Her current research examines the developmental roots of gender disparities in political leadership. Specifically, she aims to unravel some of the major social and psychological factors dissuading young girls from pursuing leadership positions across cultures.  


 Rajen Anderson (cornell)

Raj is a Ph.D. student in the Social and Personality area of the Psychology Department. He is broadly interested in judgment and decision-making, particular in the context of moral psychology and questions of person perception: how do we judge the behavior, intentions, and character of others? In addition, Raj is interested in the intersection between moral psychology and other fields, like political psychology (e.g., why do we tend to moralize political matters?) and developmental psychology (e.g., do children follow the same rules in making moral judgments that adults do?).


 Ashley Ransom (Cornell)

Ashley is a graduate student in Human Development and is interested in how language influences both children's social thinking as well as their spatial thinking. From the social perspective, her research focuses on children's essentialist beliefs about language and accent perception. From the spatial perspective, her research focuses on how different types of language influence early spatial skills. 


Kacie Armstrong (CU Denver)

Kacie is a graduate student in the Perception, Cognition, and Development area of the Psychology Department. Her research investigates face perception in both children and adults. Specifically, she is interested in how observer mood, as well as social cues to group membership, influence the perception of facial expressions. Kacie also studies Hollywood film, focusing on how the visual structure of cinema relates to emotional responses in viewers.

Undergraduate Researchers

Lead Research Assistants (cornell)


Recent undergraduate lab alumni (CORNELL)