Principal Investigators

Dr Amanda SeedDr Amanda Seed

Amanda is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience and aims to address the evolutionary origins of conceptual thought and causal knowledge by combining developmental and comparative studies of physical problem-solving.


Dr Catherine Hobaiter 

Cat is a lecturer at the University of St Andrews. She studies the evolution of communication and social behaviour in wild apes. Her work on gesture focuses on wild apes across Africa, and she is often based in Budongo, or at her new field-site in Bugoma, Uganda. You can find Cat’s list of publications here and the group GitHub here.

Dr Juan Carlos GomezDr Juan-Carlos Gómez

Juan is a Reader in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience who conducts research on the development of prelinguistic communication and early theories of mind in human infants and in great apes and monkeys.

erin-resizedDr Erin Robbins

Erin is a lecturer whose research interests focus on social learning, cross cultural influences and traditions. She studies the development of social learning capacities  in children.


Dr James AingeDr James Ainge

James is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience who studies episodic and spatial memory from both neuroscientific and developmental perspectives.


Prof Melinda CarpenterProf Malinda Carpenter

Malinda is a Professor in Developmental Psychology and studies infants’ and young children’s social behaviour and social-affiliative motivations.


Prof Josep CallProf Josep Call

Josep is a Professor in Evolutionary Origins of Mind who studies causal and inferential reasoning, tool-use, long-term memory and planning, gestural communication and mindreading in great apes and human children.


Dr Manon Schweinfurth

Manon is a lecturer in Origins of Mind and investigates why and how individuals decide to cooperate and help others in a competitive world. To this end, she conducts studies on children, non-human primates and rodents.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Dr Eva Reindl

Eva is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience, working with Dr Seed on examining the origins and development of executive functions in young children. Other research interests include children’s problem-solving and tool use, innovation, collaboration, social and asocial learning.


Zeynep Civelek

Dr Zeynep Civelek

Zeynep studies the emergence and the development of causal reasoning ability in children and the origins of this ability over human evolution. She is interested in how the development of executive functions and the socio-cultural context children grow up in are related to the development of causal reasoning.


Dr Ryan Brady

Ryan is a Marie-Curie postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Seed studying the evolutionary origins of human cognition. His current studies take a comparative approach, investigating cognitive mechanisms underlying working memory, attention, and cognitive control in human children at the ABC lab, and various primate species trained to use touch-screen computers at Edinburgh Zoo.


Dr Eleanor Jordan

Eleanor studies the evolution and development of curiosity-driven learning. She uses a comparative approach to investigate the underlying cognitive and motivational mechanisms involved in self-directed exploration and learning in human children at the ABC lab and non-human primates at the Living Links Research Centre at Edinburgh zoo.


Postgraduate Students

Hao (Lucy) Liu

Lucy is a PhD student co-supervised by Malinda Carpenter and Juan-Carlos Gómez, studying infants’ and young children’s social cognition and communication. She is currently conducting research on the development of common ground reasoning and its relation to theory of mind.

Laras Yuniarto

Laras is a PhD student supervised by Juan-Carlos Gómez. She studies how implicit and explicit elements come together in children’s skill learning, focusing on the processes behind learning from one’s own past performance and making predictions about others’ skills.

Gideon Salter

Gideon is a PhD student supervised by Malinda Carpenter, interested in joint attention and communication. His research is looking at the ways in which the emergence of joint attention in infancy relates to early communication, and he is interested in examining how a clearer understanding of the development of these skills can inform theoretical approaches.

Francesca Fotheringham

Francesca is a PhD student, co-supervised by Barbara Dritschel and Erin Robbins, exploring how children think multiple emotions interact across time. Her main current focus is adapting the Analogue Emotions Scale (AES) measurement for children, and exploring the different patterns of interaction.


Matt Henderson 

Matt is a graduate research student at the University of St Andrews. He previously studied the vocal communication of chimpanzees in Budongo, and his PhD will investigate gesture use in human children.

Baby and Child Lab Manager

Geraldine Brown

Geraldine began her research career as a Research Fellow at Strathclyde University.   She subsequently retrained as a chartered teacher.  Having taught in schools for over 13 years, she returned to academia as manager of the ABC Lab.  Her research interests span a wide spectrum of areas related to the cognitive, particularly in maths abilities, and social development in early stage infants and children. Her role is to manage and coordinate the ABC’s developmental research and public engagement work.


Dr Emily Burdett, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK.

Dr Sarah Gerson – School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK.