Carolyn Baer

Research Topic

Metacognition and Social Interaction in Children

Research Description

I'm interested in understanding how children learn about the world and learn to socialize with others. My dissertation work focuses on how children reason about their own confidence ("I'm really sure" vs. "I'm a little bit sure") and how this impacts their general and social learning. For example, in some of my studies, we're finding that children who are good at assessing their own confidence are better at picking accurate teachers (over inaccurate ones). We're also finding that children can use their sense of confidence to optimize performance, both when working alone and in cooperative tasks. We're using these findings to understand what our sense of confidence is and how it develops, what consequences our sense of confidence has on other developing skills, and how we can improve children's reasoning about their own confidence.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I grew up in a mid-sized city in Ontario, so I am always amazed at how much there is to do in Vancouver. Beaches, hiking, street festivals, craft breweries, concerts, parades, and not to mention all the shops and restaurants - and all really close to home.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Picking a graduate school is all about fit. Developmental psychology at UBC is not only very well-respected internationally, but it was also the best fit for what I was looking for in a graduate program. We have a supportive group of faculty and students, an amazing system for recruiting participants that makes it easy to conduct our research, and it's hard to say no to living in Vancouver!


Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I've always been interested in learning and solving puzzles (I have a lot of family members who work in education). When I started conducting research as an undergraduate, I found out that research is essentially full-time puzzle-solving!

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I was lucky to be involved in great labs as an undergraduate. I got to work on my own projects, which is probably the best way to see if you enjoy research or not. I also had a lot of support from the professors and graduate students in those labs who were happy to give advice and answer all my questions about grad studies.