Research Interests

I have ongoing research interests in two different areas: the cognitive development of young children and the gendered development of men and women across the life span.

In the area of cognitive development I am particularly concerned with how cultural practices influence the development of specific sorts of intellectual skills.  My early work in this area focused on the effect of schooling on the development of different ways of representing knowledge and the consequences of such different representations for how information is organized and used in solving problems.  My more recent studies focus on the ways in which interaction with the social and cultural environment (for example, reading and rereading folk tales) affects the child's understanding of mental representation and its role in mediating responses to external situations. 

In the area of gender development, I am especially intrigued by the factors that influence the development of self and the saliency and composition of components such as race and gender within the self concept.  Recent projects with my honors students have examined the gender self concepts of women who enter “male” domains and ethnic differences in the defining characteristics of masculinity and femininity.