Adena Schachner

Assistant Professor

I am interested in the development of social cognition, particularly how infants, children and adults infer mental states (like intentions, goals and preferences) to explain others’ actions, and to understand the objects that people own and create. I employ a variety of experimental methodologies, including looking time with infants and behavioral methods with children and adults, both in the lab and around the world via the internet.

In my work, I also use music cognition as a window into novel aspects of social cognition, leveraging musical phenomena to answer questions about mental state inference. For example, my work has examined the cognitive and evolutionary bases of movement to music, and perception of dance-like actions in adults and children.

  • Schachner, A. and Carey, S. (2013). Reasoning about 'irrational' actions: When intentional movements cannot be explained, the movements themselves are seen as the goal. Cognition, 129, 309-327.
  • Mehr, S., Schachner, A., Katz, R., & Spelke, E. (2013). Two randomized trials provide no consistent evidence for nonmusical cognitive benefits of brief preschool music enrichment. PLOS ONE, 8(12), e82007.
  • Hartshorne, J.K., & Schachner, A. (2012). Tracking replicability as a method of post-publication open evaluation. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 6 (8), 1-14.
  • Schachner, A., & Hannon, E. (2011). Infant-directed speech drives social preferences in 5-month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 47, 19-25.
  • Schachner, A., Brady, T. F., Pepperberg, I.M., & Hauser, M.D. (2009). Spontaneous motor entrainment to music in multiple vocal-mimicking species.  Current Biology, 19, 831-836.