Social-cognitive development

How do children understand what other people do, think or feel?

 What we study

When we see another person performing an action, for example, reaching towards a cup of coffee, we immediately understand what his intention is. We know that he’s planning to drink the coffee, and we anticipate that he will bring the cup to his lips. But how do we come to understand the actions and intentions of other people? And do young children already know how to do this? How does this ability develop?

We also often synchronize our actions with those of other people around us and often do things together with another person. How does the ability to do things with other people develop in babies? And which processes play an important role in this ability?

This and other questions are the focus of a large number of the experiments at the BRC. These studies are carried out by staff from the Donders Centre for Cognition (DCC). Babies’ early cognitive development is central to this research, particularly the development of action and action understanding.