Our Team

Rose ScottRose Scott
Associate Professor
Psychological Sciences
School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts
Social Sciences and Management Building 310B
Office Phone: (209) 228-4362
Email: rscott@ucmerced.edu

As members of a social species, we spend much of our everyday lives predicting, interpreting, and responding to the nonverbal and verbal behavior of other individuals. I am interested in the development of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie these abilities. Specifically, I conduct two interrelated lines of research focusing on children in the first four years of life. One line of research investigates the development of psychological reasoning, the ability to interpret the behavior of agents in terms of their underlying mental states. The majority of my research in this domain has focused on children’s ability to understand that agents can hold and act on false beliefs. My other line of research examines early language acquisition. Whenever children encounter a new word, the referential scene offers many potential interpretations. My work investigates how children resolve this residual ambiguity, focusing on the possibility that children refine their interpretation of a word by integrating information across multiple information sources and observations.

Maritza Miramontes
Research Coordinator

I graduated from UC Merced in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Cognitive Science. As an undergrad I worked in Dr. Alex Main’s Family Development lab as a research assistant then lab coordinator. After graduating I worked as a behavior technician until becoming a research coordinator for Dr. Rose Scott. I want to pursue my doctorate in Developmental Psychology. My interests are in the influence of cultural, social, and environmental factors on adolescent emotional development and parent-adolescent interactions.

James SullivanJames Sullivan

I am a second-year graduate student studying Developmental Psychology. I graduated from the University of California, Merced in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology. I continued working in research at UC Merced after graduating and began working at CECL as a research assistant that summer. My research interests include false-belief understanding and how children learn through social interaction. I am also interested in how socioeconomic status impacts how children are raised, and how this affects their development.
Kailee Zhu

I am a first-year graduate student studying Developmental Psychology. I graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2018 with a M.Ed in Human Development and Psychology. I am interested in how children learn new words and how cultural and linguistics differences affect young children’s word learning abilities.

Lab Alumni

John BunceJohn Bunce
Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2017, University of California Merced
Current Position: Assistant Professor, CSU East Bay

My primary research interest is language acquisition especially as it applies children’s early word learning. My current research focuses on how perceptual, social, and linguistic information sources impacts children’s cross-situational word learning.
Megan SmithMegan Pronovost
Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2019, University of California Merced
Current Position: Assistant Professor, CSU Fresno

My program of research examines the origins and nature of stereotyping and prejudice in infancy, the features that infants expect social groups to share, and possible environmental influences on early social-group reasoning.
Erin RobyErin Roby
Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2017, University of California Merced
Current Position: Post-doctoral researcher at NYU.

Broadly, my research investigates the factors that contribute to social cognitive development across the lifespan. More specifically, my research focuses on how particular social experiences, such as hearing and using mental-state language, relate to false-belief understanding. I am particularly interested in examining these relationships during the first years of life, and also during adulthood. In future work, I plan to broaden the focus of my research to examine how other social contexts relate to social cognitive development, and how the relationship between social experiences and false-belief understanding might vary across income level, culture, and language background.