Felix Warneken : Principal Investigator

Felix Warneken

Principal Investigator


Curriculum Vitae | Press

Dr. Warneken studies the origins of human social behavior, with a focus on the evolution and development of cooperation and morality. He conducts developmental and cross-cultural studies with children, as well as comparative studies with non-human apes. He completed his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Before coming to Michigan, he was an assistant and later associate professor of psychology at Harvard University.

Dr. Warneken has received several awards, including an NSF CAREER Award, a Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, and a Boyd McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association.

Yeonjee Bae : Graduate Student

Yeonjee Bae

Graduate Student


Yeonjee is a graduate student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. Before coming to Ann Arbor, she got Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Child Development and Family Studies from Seoul National University, South Korea. Yeonjee’s current project explores young children's moral judgment and decision within varying relationship contexts and she hopes to start collecting data via Zoom sessions with children this year.

Sarah Probst : Graduate Student

Sarah Probst

Graduate Student


Personal Website

Sarah is a third-year PhD student at the University of Michigan. She received her B.S. in Psychology with Honors from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 and subsequently worked as a Project Coordinator at the University at Buffalo. Currently she is studying the cognitive and affective mechanisms influencing helping behaviors in infants and toddlers using novel eye-tracking methodology.

Rose Yiyan Wang : Graduate Student

Rose Yiyan Wang

Graduate Student


Rose is a first year graduate student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. Before joining Umich, she finished her bachelor's degree in Psychology and Economics at the College of William & Mary. She also studied abroad at the University College London, where she worked in Dr. Steinbeis's Developmental Change and Plasticity Lab. Rose is broadly interested in social cognition and prosocial behaviors in children.

Susan He : Graduate Student

Susan He

Graduate Student


Susan received her BA in Psychology in 2021 from the University of Michigan. She is currently in the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program in Psychology at the University of Michigan. Susan is interested in children’s moral development, conducting a master’s thesis project on how verbal approval and disapproval influence  children’s fairness-related behavior.

Caiqin Zhou : Lab Manager

Caiqin Zhou

Lab Manager


Caiqin received her BA in Psychology and Economics from Wellesley College. Prior to joining U of M, she was an undergraduate RA in the Computational Social Cognition Lab at Yale University (PI: Julian Jara-Ettinger). She is  interested in children's causal and social learning as well as mental-state reasoning. Her current project investigates the cognitive mechanisms underlying children’s reciprocity-based cooperation.

Mihir Pyakuryal : Lab Manager

Mihir Pyakuryal

Lab Manager


Mihir received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dickinson College and has studied stigma and its effects on smoking behavior. He was also a summer research assistant for the Social Minds Lab in 2018, where he studied development of cooperation in children. Mihir is interested in social cognition, cooperation and metacognition in primates.

Lab Affiliates

Young-eun Lee : Lab Affiliate

Young-eun Lee

Lab Affiliate


Young-eun is a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University. She was a graduate student in the Social Minds Lab and received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. Young-eun studies the development of punishment against selfish behaviors. She is particularly interested in children’s reasoning and motives underlying third-party punishment.

Nicole Wen : Lab Affiliate

Nicole Wen

Lab Affiliate


Personal Website

Nicole is currently a lecturer at Brunel University London. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Social Minds Lab at University of Michigan. Nicole received her B.S. in Psychology, B.A. in Plan II Honors, and completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Nicole is interested in the development of social learning and is particularly interested in the role of cultural conventions in children’s cooperation with in- and out-group members. Nicole’s past research explored how children identify and acquire rituals to affiliate with social groups and how evaluations of imitation in social learning differ across the lifespan and cultures, in the U.S. and Vanuatu.

Sebastian Grüneisen : Lab Affiliate

Sebastian Grüneisen

Lab Affiliate


Personal Website

Sebastian studied psychology at Northumbria University and the University of St Andrews in the UK, and completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Sebastian completed his Marie Curie Fellowship in the Social Minds Lab and is now an assistant professor at Leipzig University. His research investigates the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of human cooperation. For this purpose, he conducts behavioral experiments with young children and chimpanzees. He is particularly interested in how our cooperative motivations can result not only in positive but also in socially problematic outcomes.

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Students

Amy Nowack : Honors Thesis Student

Amy Nowack

Honors Thesis Student


Amy is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Applied Statistics and American Culture. While working with children during the pandemic, she became fascinated with observing how children adapted to COVID-19 norms. She was inspired to conduct an honors thesis on how children evaluate intentional and accidental violations of public-health measures.

Caroline Maywood : Honors Thesis Student

Caroline Maywood

Honors Thesis Student


Caroline is a senior in the Department of Psychology. She is working on her honors thesis, investigating how rituals and cultural conventions influence children’s cooperation and prosocial behavior in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Wen at Brunel University.

Undergraduate Research Assistants