Kiley Hamlin

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Infant moral cognition
infant social cognition

Relevant Degree Programs


Research Methodology

infancy methods


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Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round

Our work focuses on the early development of moral cognition and action in infancy.

I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
Foundations of cultural learning (2016)

Toacquiretheirlocalculture,infantsmustidentifygoodculturalmodelstolearnfrom.Doingsosuccessfullyrequireslearnerstoevaluateothers’qualitiesaspotentialknowledgesources.Thefollowingbodyofresearchexamineshowtheyoungesthumansidentifygoodsourcesofconventionalbehaviours—adomainofculturalknowledgethatlacksinherentpropertiesforevaluation.Chapter2examinesinfants’preferencesforindividualswhoperformedaconsensusactionvs.anoft-­‐repeatedaction.Resultsrevealedthatpreverbalinfantsarecapableofmakingcomplex,context-­‐dependentevaluations,favouringconformistswhenthetargets’priorknowledgecannotbeassumed,andpreferringmaverickswhenitcan.Chapter3extendstheseresultsbyshowingthatpreschoolagedchildrenusesomeofthesesamecuestoidentifywhomaybegoodtolearnfrom.Chapter4investigatesinfants’useofobservedemotionalcommunicationstochoosebetweensocialandasocialtargets.Culturalanddomaindifferenceswerefoundfor12montholdinfants:targetpreferenceswereinfluencedbyemotionalreactionsdirectedatsocialtargets,butnotbyemotionalreactionsdirectedatasocialtargets.AdifferentialresponsetopositiveandnegativeemotionalreactiononlyreliablyaffectedEuropeanCanadianinfants’choices,butnotEastAsianinfants,norEuropeanandEastAsianmixedinfants.Chapter5investigatedhowparentsconveyevaluativemessagesaboutobjectsduringinteractionswithinfants,andexploredculturaldifferencesinthesepedagogicalinteractions.Resultshintatculturaldifferencesintheamountofvalencecongruent utterancescaregiversmake,resultingindifferentialexperiencewithemotionalcommunicationsasameansoflearningabouttheworld.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Infants’ performance on sociomoral evaluation tasks predicts parent report of preschool social functioning (2015)

The present study examined developmental continuity in social functioning from infancy to preschool. Specifically, we examined the relationships between infants’ performance on sociomoral evaluation studies and parent report of their preschool social functioning. Infants’ performance, emotional stability (fuss-out rate), and average habituation rate in moral evaluation tasks were collected. Preschool social functioning was measured through parent-report online scales. The results showed 1) that better performance on infant moral evaluation studies was associated with lower rates of parent report of preschool attention problems, social responsiveness problems, and callousness-unemotional traits, as well as higher rates of parent report of adaptive social skills, 2) that fuss-out rate across infant moral evaluation studies was positively associated with parent report of preschool anxiety, depression, and withdrawal, 3) that the relationships between the performance on infant moral evaluation studies and parent-report preschool functioning were stronger for males than for females, and that 4) these relationships were domain-specific. Together these findings provide preliminary evidence for longitudinal continuity in social functioning from infancy to preschool.

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Ten-month-olds' evaluations of accidental and intentional actions (2013)

Mature moral judgments rely on the analysis of both the outcomes of others’ actions and the mental states that drive them. Past research has shown that when there is conflict between outcome and intention, young children rely on outcome information to evaluate others, while older children and adults privilege intention (Piaget, 1932/1965). This suggests that there is a shift from outcome-based to intention-based judgments occurring in development.However, the current study suggests that even 10-month-old infants evaluate moral agents on the basis of their underlying mental states. Infants were presented with puppet shows in which a protagonist was either intentionally or accidentally helped or hindered. Infants were then given a forced choice between the accidental and intentional puppets. Results indicate that infants’ preference for the accidental versus the intentional character differed by condition [χ²(1, N = 60)= 11.28, p
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Recent Tri-Agency Grants

The following is a selection of grants for which the faculty member was principal investigator or co-investigator. Currently, the list only covers Canadian Tri-Agency grants from years 2013/14-2016/17 and excludes grants from any other agencies.

  • Understanding humans' understanding of agency: studies with preverbal infants - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Discovery Grants Program - Individual (2016/2017)
  • Exploring the role of emotion in the early development of prosocial behavior and social evaluation: studies with preverbal infants and toddlers - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Insight Grants (2013/2014)
  • The evolution of religion and morality - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Partnership Grants (2013/2014)
  • Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychology - Dr. J. Kiley Hamlin - Canada Research Chairs - Canada Research Chair Tier II (SSHRC) (2013/2014)
  • A developmental-cognitive approach to understanding other minds - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Discovery Grants Program - Individual (2013/2014)
  • The development of impression formation: Preverbal infants' understanding of the social world - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Standard Research Grants program (2013/2014)

Membership Status

Member of G+PS

Program Affiliations



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