School of Psychology Contacts & people

Professor Merideth Gattis - PhD California, Los Angeles

Professor

Research group:
Developmental & health psychology
Social & environmental psychology
Email:
GattisM@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44(0)29 2087 0034
Location:
Tower Building, Park Place

Research summary

My research interests are in cognition and development, and my research is conducted with infants, children, and adults. My research with Development@Cardiff seeks to move our understanding of cognition beyond the nature/nurture divide, asking detailed questions about how nature and nurture interact to produce thinking and reasoning. To answer these questions, we compare human behaviour across different environmental factors. Those environmental factors include parenting practices as well as the broader influence of culture and language.

Teaching summary

I teach across all levels of the undergraduate curriculum.  At Level 1, I lecture on what counts as scientific evidence, and I conduct academic tutorials aimed at developing critical thinking and analytic skills.  At Level 2, I lecture on cognitive development in PS2011 Developmental Psychology. My lecture topics include infant perception, attention, and social cognition. I also conduct academic tutorials, and a practical in developmental research. I supervise research projects and research internships on cognition and development.

Selected publications (2008 onwards)

2013

Evans, L., Tsai, P., Wu, D. H., Lien, Y. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). The dimensional arrow: agreement in directional mapping of dimensions among Mandarin Chinese- and English-speakersThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(9), 1729-1738. (10.1080/17470218.2013.763832)

Hilbrink, E., Sakkalou, E., Ellis-Davies, K., Fowler, N. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). Selective and faithful imitation at 12 and 15 monthsDevelopmental Science, 16(6), 828-840. (10.1111/desc.12070)

Over, H., Carpenter, M., Spears, R. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). Children selectively trust individuals who have imitated themSocial Development, 22(2), 215-224. (10.1111/sode.12020)

Sakkalou, E., Ellis-Davies, K., Fowler, N., Hilbrink, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). Infants show stability of goal-directed imitationJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114(1), 1-9. (10.1016/j.jecp.2012.09.005)

Scott, K., Sakkalou, E., Ellis-Davies, K., Hilbrink, E., Hahn, U. and Gattis, M. (2013). Infant contributions to joint attention predict vocabulary development. Presented at: 35th Annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Winstanley, A. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). The Baby Care Questionnaire: A measure of parenting principles and practices during infancyInfant Behavior and Development, 36(4), 762-775. (10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.08.004) pdf

2012

Ellis-Davies, K., Sakkalou, E., Fowler, N., Hilbrink, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). CUE: The continuous unified electronic diary methodBehaviour Research Methods, 44(4), 1063-1078. (10.3758/s13428-012-0205-1)

Hoicka, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). Acoustic differences between humorous and sincere communicative intentionsBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30(4), 531-549. (10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02062.x)

Perra, O. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). Attention engagement in early infancyInfant Behavior and Development, 35(4), 635-644. (10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.06.004)

Sakkalou, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). Infants infer intentions from prosodyCognitive Development, 27(1), 1-16. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2011.08.003)

2010

Over, H. and Gattis, M. L. (2010). Verbal imitation is based on intention understandingCognitive Development, 25(1), 46-55. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2009.06.004)

Perra, O. and Gattis, M. L. (2010). The control of social attention from 1 to 4 monthsBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28(4), 891-908. (10.1348/026151010X487014)

2008

Gattis, M. L. (2008). Diagrams are visual analogiesInternational Journal of Psychology, 43(3-4), 169-169.

Hoicka, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2008). Do the wrong thing: How toddlers tell a joke from a mistakeCognitive Development, 23(1), 180-190. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2007.06.001 )

Hoicka, E., Jutsum, S. and Gattis, M. L. (2008). Humor, abstraction, and disbeliefCognitive Science, 32(6), 985-1002. (10.1080/03640210801981841 )

Perra, O. and Gattis, M. L. (2008). Reducing the mapping between perception and action facilitates imitationBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26(1), 133-144. (10.1348/026151007x224442)

Full list of publications

2013

Evans, L., Tsai, P., Wu, D. H., Lien, Y. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). The dimensional arrow: agreement in directional mapping of dimensions among Mandarin Chinese- and English-speakersThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(9), 1729-1738. (10.1080/17470218.2013.763832)

Hilbrink, E., Sakkalou, E., Ellis-Davies, K., Fowler, N. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). Selective and faithful imitation at 12 and 15 monthsDevelopmental Science, 16(6), 828-840. (10.1111/desc.12070)

Over, H., Carpenter, M., Spears, R. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). Children selectively trust individuals who have imitated themSocial Development, 22(2), 215-224. (10.1111/sode.12020)

Sakkalou, E., Ellis-Davies, K., Fowler, N., Hilbrink, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). Infants show stability of goal-directed imitationJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114(1), 1-9. (10.1016/j.jecp.2012.09.005)

Scott, K., Sakkalou, E., Ellis-Davies, K., Hilbrink, E., Hahn, U. and Gattis, M. (2013). Infant contributions to joint attention predict vocabulary development. Presented at: 35th Annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Winstanley, A. and Gattis, M. L. (2013). The Baby Care Questionnaire: A measure of parenting principles and practices during infancyInfant Behavior and Development, 36(4), 762-775. (10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.08.004) pdf

2012

Ellis-Davies, K., Sakkalou, E., Fowler, N., Hilbrink, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). CUE: The continuous unified electronic diary methodBehaviour Research Methods, 44(4), 1063-1078. (10.3758/s13428-012-0205-1)

Hoicka, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). Acoustic differences between humorous and sincere communicative intentionsBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30(4), 531-549. (10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02062.x)

Perra, O. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). Attention engagement in early infancyInfant Behavior and Development, 35(4), 635-644. (10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.06.004)

Sakkalou, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2012). Infants infer intentions from prosodyCognitive Development, 27(1), 1-16. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2011.08.003)

2010

Over, H. and Gattis, M. L. (2010). Verbal imitation is based on intention understandingCognitive Development, 25(1), 46-55. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2009.06.004)

Perra, O. and Gattis, M. L. (2010). The control of social attention from 1 to 4 monthsBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28(4), 891-908. (10.1348/026151010X487014)

2008

Gattis, M. L. (2008). Diagrams are visual analogiesInternational Journal of Psychology, 43(3-4), 169-169.

Hoicka, E. and Gattis, M. L. (2008). Do the wrong thing: How toddlers tell a joke from a mistakeCognitive Development, 23(1), 180-190. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2007.06.001 )

Hoicka, E., Jutsum, S. and Gattis, M. L. (2008). Humor, abstraction, and disbeliefCognitive Science, 32(6), 985-1002. (10.1080/03640210801981841 )

Perra, O. and Gattis, M. L. (2008). Reducing the mapping between perception and action facilitates imitationBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26(1), 133-144. (10.1348/026151007x224442)

2005

Gattis, M. L. (2005). Inferencing from spatial informationSpatial Cognition & Computation, 5(2-3), 119-137. (10.1080/13875868.2005.9683800)

Want, S. C. and Gattis, M. L. (2005). Are “late-signing” deaf children “mindblind”? Understanding goal directedness in imitationCognitive Development, 20(2), 159-172. (10.1016/j.cogdev.2004.12.003)

2004

Gattis, M. L. (2004). Mapping relational structure in spatial reasoningCognitive Science, 28(4), 589-610. (10.1016/j.cogsci.2004.02.001)

Wohlschläger, A., Gattis, M. L. and Bekkering, H. (2004). Action generation and action perception in imitation: an instance of the ideomotor principle. In: Frith, C. and Wolpert, D. eds. The Neuroscience of Social Interaction: Decoding, Influencing, and Imitating the Actions of Others. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 131-158.

2003

Gattis, M. L. (2003). How similarity shapes diagramsLecture Notes in Computer Science, 2685, 249-262. (10.1007/3-540-45004-1_15)

Wohlschlager, A., Gattis, M. L. and Bekkering, H. (2003). Action generation and action perception in imitation: An instantiation of the ideomotor principlePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B - Biological Sciences, 358(1431), 501-515. (10.1098/rstb.2002.1257)

2002

Gattis, M. L., Bekkering, H. and Wohlschläger, A. (2002). Goal-directed imitation. In: Meltzoff, A. and Prinz, W. eds. The Imitative Mind: Development, Evolution and Brain Bases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 183-205. (10.1017/CBO9780511489969.011)

Gattis, M. L. (2002). Imitation is mediated by many goals, not just one [Letter]Developmental Science, 5(1), 27-29. (10.1111/1467-7687.00201)

Gattis, M. L. (2002). Structure mapping in spatial reasoningCognitive Development, 17(2), 1157-1183. (10.1016/S0885-2014(02)00095-3)

2001

(2001). Spatial schemas and abstract thought. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gattis, M. L. (2001). Mapping conceptual and spatial schemas. In: Gattis, M. ed. Spatial Schemas and Abstract Thought. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 223-245.

Gattis, M. L. (2001). Space as a basis for abstract thought. In: Gattis, M. ed. Spatial Schemas and Abstract Thought. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 1-12.

Gattis, M. L. (2001). Space as a basis for reasoning. In: Gero, J., Tversky, B. and Purcell, T. eds. Visual and Spatial Reasoning in Design II . Sydney, Australia: Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition, University of Sydney, pp. 15-24.

2000

Bekkering, H., Wohlschlager, A. and Gattis, M. L. (2000). Imitation of gestures in children is goal-directedQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Section A: Human Experimental Psychology, 53(1), 153-164. (10.1080/027249800390718)

Gattis, M. L. and Dupeyrat, C. (2000). Spatial strategies in reasoning. In: Schaeken, W. et al. eds. Deductive Reasoning and Strategies . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 153-176.

1998

Gattis, M. (1998). Mapping relational structure in visual reasoning. Presented at: Mind III: Spatial Cognition - Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society of Ireland, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, 17-19 August 1998.

Gattis, M. L. (1998). Mapping conceptual and spatial schemas. Presented at: Advances in Analogy Research, Sofia, Bulgaria, July 1998.

Gattis, M. L., Bekkering, H. and Wohlschläger, A. (1998). When actions are carved at the joints [Letter]Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21(5), 691-692. (10.1017/S0140525X98301740) pdf

Schnall, S. and Gattis, M. L. (1998). Transitive inference by visual reasoning. Presented at: Twentieth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Madison, WI, USA, 1-4 August 1998.

1996

Bekkering, H., Wohlschläger, A. and Gattis, M. L. (1996). Motor imitation: What is imitated?Corpus, Psyche et Societas, 3(2), 68-74.

Gattis, M. L. and Holyoak, K. J. (1996). Mapping conceptual to spatial relations in visual reasoningJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 22(1), 231-239. (10.1037/0278-7393.22.1.231)

1995

Gelman, R. and Gattis, M. L. (1995). Trends and developments in educational psychology in the United States. In: Recent trends and developments in educational psychology: Chinese and American perspectives. Paris: UNESCO, pp. 23-52.

Holyoak, K. J. and Gattis, M. L. (1995). Review of Children's understanding: The development of mental models by G. S. Halford [Book Review]Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 41, 402-407.

1994

Holyoak, K. J. and Gattis, M. L. (1994). Implicit assumptions about implicit learningBehavioral and Brain Sciences, 17(3), 406-407. (10.1017/S0140525X00035159 ) pdf

Richardson-Klavehn, A., Gattis, M., Joubran, R. and Bjork, R. A. (1994). Intention and awareness in perceptual identification primingMemory & Cognition, 22(3), 293-312. (10.3758/BF03200858)

Research topics and related papers

I study social cognition, including imitation, joint attention, and early communication. I am interested in the development of attention regulation, and how it influences social cognition. I am currently conducting two longitudinal studies of social cognition, First Steps and Special Delivery. More information is available on my research group web pages.

I also study spatial cognition, especially as it relates to abstract thinking and reasoning. Studies of perceptual reasoning in Chinese- and English-speaking populations are giving us new insights into how dimensional concepts such as size, loudness, and hue are represented in the human mind.

Funding

2012: ESRC. £99,805 for 2 years. Cultural & individual influences on parenting during infancy.

2010: Waterloo Foundation. PhD Studentship. Development following preterm birth.

2010: Nuffield. £14,400 for 3 months. Gaze following and emotion processing in human infants.

2008: Waterloo Foundation. £12,000 for 1 year. Development@Cardiff participant programme.

2008: ESRC. Competition studentship award. The role of joint attention in social cognition and language development.

2008: Wellcome/NIH. £70,000 for 4 years. Mother-child interaction and the developmentof imitation in preterm infants.

2008: Leverhulme. £252,343 for 3 years. Infant imitation in natural contexts.

2007: Nuffield. £1,400 for 3 months. Developing a corpus of social learning in human infants.

2006: Royal Society. £12,000 for 3 years. A comparison of linguistic polarity in Mandarin Chinese and English.

2006:  Wellcome Trust. £1,020 for 3 months. Infant ability to detect intention through acoustic cues.

2005: Nuffield. £1,400 for 3 months. Infant imitation and attention.

2005: ESRC. £42,000 for 1 year. Early imitation and disengagement.

2001: ESRC. £37,000 for 18 months. Early imitation and gaze following.

2000: Nuffield Foundation. £99,730 for three years. Social cognition in deaf and hearing children. PI Stephen Want.

2000: British Council. £5,200 for two years. Goal-directed imitation.

I have also received various travel awards from the British Academy, Cardiff University, and the Royal Society.

Research group

Development@Cardiff

Research collaborators

Terry Kit-fong Au
Marc Bornstein
Ulrike Hahn

Postgraduate research interests

I supervise postgraduate research on cognition and development, and that research can be conducted with infants, children, or adults. I am interested in how social and spatial cognition are related to the development of thinking and reasoning. I am particularly interested in interactions between culture and cognition.

Current studies of social cognition in my laboratory focus on infants. We are conducting experimental studies of attention regulation, imitation and mimicry, intention understanding, and the role of intonation and other acoustic features of speech in mental state understanding. In addition to cross-sectional studies of cognitive development we are currently conducting two longitudinal studies of cognitive and communicative development, one with typically-developing infants only, and one that compares infants born preterm with infants born full term. Both of these longitudinal studies begin from birth and follow development across infancy and early childhood.

Current studies of perceptual reasoning in my laboratory focus on adults. We are conducting experimental studies of perceptual discrimination and organization in different language cultures, to better understand how the interaction between perception and language influences perceptual reasoning.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application here.

Current students

Katherine Ellis-Davies. Katherine studies the development of attentional control; mother-infant interaction; communicative and cognitive development

Katherine Scott. Katherine studies the development of communication and cognition.

Rebecca Sperotto. Rebecca’s research focuses on the social, cognitive and brain development of preterm infants.

Alice Winstanley. Alice's research focuses on the social and cognitive development of preterm infants.

Previous students

Nia Fowler (Dept of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, Cardiff)

Elma Hilbrink (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)

Elena Hoicka (Psychology, University of Stirling)

Sarah May (Waterloo Foundation)

Harriet Over (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)

Oliver Perra (Institute of Child Care Research, Queen’s University Belfast)

Elena Sakkalou (Institute for Child Health, University College London)

Undergraduate education

B.A. (1985): Gordon College, Massachusetts; Psychology (Magna cum Laude; Honours Scholar Fellowship).

Postgraduate education

Ph.D. (1995): supported by NSF; supervised by Professor Keith Holyoak; University of California, Los Angeles; Psychology; dissertation title: “From Implicit Learning of Visual Patterns to Explicit Knowledge of a Dynamic System”.

Awards/external committees

Grant reviewing: ESRC, European Commission, National Science Foundation (USA),

Editorial Board, Psychological Science

Reviewer for Academic Presses: IOS Press, MIT Press, Oxford University Press.

Reviewer for journals: Applied Cognitive Psychology, British Journal of Social Psychology, Cognition, Cognitive Development, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Science, Developmental Psychology, Developmental Science, Infancy, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Thinking and Reasoning.

Visiting Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 2005; Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, 2005-2006.

Employment

Ocober 2014: promoted to Professor, Cardiff University, UK.

Ocober 2011: Reader, Cardiff University, UK.

2007-2011: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

2002-2007: Lecturer, Cardiff University

1998-2002: Lecturer, Sheffield University

1995-1998: Max Planck Institute Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich, Germany