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Recent research

Our main research topics are memory, language acquisition, and social development. We work with infants, children and adults. Our research has been covered by the BBC, the New York Times and National Geographic.

Short-term memory problems are due to earlier memories

Why is it so hard to memorize a phone number? Our work with adults suggests that such memory limitations are in part due to experience. For example, when trying to remember a phone number, other numbers will come to our mind as well. When such interference from prior experience is minimized, we seem to have much better memory.

Source: Endress, A.D. & Potter, M.C. (2014). Large capacity temporary visual memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(2):548-65. http://endress.org/publications/tmp-mem-capacity.pdf

 

Seven-month-olds can put themselves in other people’s shoes

Can infants put themselves into others’ shoes? Acting upon others’ states of mind is often hard for young children, but this might be because they can’t take others’ perspective, or because they get confused between their own perspective and that of others. Our results show that adults just can’t help taking others’ perspectives, and that this ability is present at 7 months.

Source: Kovács, Á.M., Téglás, E. & Endress, A.D. (2010). The social sense: susceptibility to others’ beliefs in human infants and adults. Science, 330(6012), 1830-1834. http://endress.org/publications/puffo.pdf

See also the article at the New York Times

 

Seven-months-olds can learn complex grammar

Grammar is complex. Even adults have only a tacit knowledge of their native language, and are not aware of the huge number of grammar rules they regularly use. Our research shows that, in simplified situations, 7-months olds can learn one of the most complex aspects of language in a few minutes.

Source: Kovács, Á.M. & Endress, A.D. (2014). Hierarchical processing in seven-months-old infants. Infancy, 9(4), 409-425. http://endress.org/publications/rep-embed.pdf