Team Members

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.

Rose Yiyan Wang

Graduate Student

Rose is a third-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.

Kayley Dotson

Graduate Student

Kayley is a first-year graduate student in developmental psychology at the University of Michigan. She received her bachelor’s degree at Duke University where she double-majored in Psychology & French Studies. During undergrad, she did research on joint attention, prosocial behavior, and norms in a developmental psychology lab (PI: Dr. Mike Tomasello). She then worked for two years as a lab manager for the Tomasello Lab, where she continued work on social bonding and prosocial behavior. Kayley is primarily interested in young children’s intentions and motivations in cooperation and prosocial behavior. 

Kasia Myslinska-Szarek

Postdoctoral Researcher

Kasia is a post-doc in the Social Minds Lab at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland. She studies children’s moral development with a focus on the factors that shape children’s moral cognition and judgement.

Ava Rooney

Lab Manager

Ava received her BA in Psychology from New York University. Before joining U of M, she was an undergraduate RA in the Conceptual Development and Social Cognition Lab at NYU (PI: Marjorie Rhodes) where she investigated the relationship between children’s racial biases and their theory of mind capacities. She is interested in social cognition, moral development, and mental-state reasoning in children.

Lab Affiliates

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

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.

Sarah Probst

Lab Affiliate

Personal Website

Sarah is a sixth-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.

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 Research Assistants