Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


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Early Experience Lab

Department of Psychology
62 Arch Street, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 Canada
Phone: 613-533-6407


Contact us for reprints at


Mangardich, H. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2017). Children remember words from ignorant speakers but do not attach meaning: Evidence from event-related potentials. Developmental Science.

Mangardich, H. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2017). Mechanisms of selective social learning: Evidence and implications. To appear in M. M. Saylor & P. Ganea (Eds.) Language and Concept Development from Infancy Through Childhood: Social Motivation, Cognition, and Linguistic Mechanisms of Learning.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Bowman, L. C. (2017) Theory of mind. To appear in Ghetti (Ed.) Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (4th ed.). New York: Wiley.


Yuile, A. R. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2016). Executive function and children’s use of irregular past tense verbs. Child Development.

Sabbagh, M. A., Koenig, M. A. and Kuhlmeier, V. A. (2016). Conceptual constraints and mechanisms in children's selective learning. Developmental Science.

Zahavi, A.Y., Sabbagh, M.A., Washburn, D., Mazurka, R., Bagby, R.M., Strauss, J., et al. (2016). Serotonin and Dopamine Gene Variation and Theory of Mind Decoding Accuracy in Major Depression: A Preliminary Investigation. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150872.


Tahiroglu, D., Moses, L. J., Carlson, S. M., Olafson, E., Mahy, C.E.V. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2014). The Children’s Social Understanding Scale: Construction and validation of a parent-report measure for assessing individual differences in children’s theories of mind. (PDF, 142 KB) Developmental Psychology, 50(11), 2485-2497.

Benson Mo, S., Su, Y., Sabbagh, M. A., & Xiu, J. (2014). Sentential complements and false belief understanding in Chinese Mandarin-speaking preschoolers: A training study. (PDF, 514 KB) Cognitive Development.


Koenig, M. & Sabbagh, M.A. (2013). Selective social learning: New perspectives on learning from others. (PDF, 285 KB) Developmental Psychology, 49, 399-403.

Henderson, A.M.E., Sabbagh, M.A., & Woodward, A.L. (2013). Preschoolers' selective learning has a basis in socio-cultural relevance, (PDF, 415 KB) Cognition.

Benson, J.E., Sabbagh, M.A., Carlson, S.M. & Zelazo, P.D. (2013). Individual differences in executive functioning predict preschoolers improvement from theory-of-mind training, (PDF, 250 KB) Developmental Psychology.


Akhtar, N., Menjivar, J., Hoicka, E. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2012). Learning foreign labels from a foreign speaker: The role of (limited) exposure to a second language. (PDF, 139 KB) Journal of Child Language, 39, 1135-1149.

Lackner, C. L., Sabbagh, M. A., Hallinan, E., Liu, X., & Holden, J. J. E. (2012) Dopamine receptor D4 gene variation predicts preschoolers’ developing theory of mind. (PDF, 274 KB) Developmental Science, 15, 272- 280.

Harkness, K. L., Jacobson, J. A., Sinclair, B., Chan, E., & Sabbagh, M. A. (2012). For love or for money? What motivates people to know the minds of others. (PDF, 219 KB) Cognition and Emotion, 26, 272-280.


Harkness, K. L., Washburn, D., Theriault, J., Lee, L., & Sabbagh, M. A. (2011). Maternal history of depression is associated with enhanced theory of mind in depressed and nondepressed adult women. (PDF, 279 KB) Psychiatry Research, 189, 91-96.


Harkness, K. L., Jacobson, J. A., Duong, D. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2010). Mental state decoding in remitted major depression: Effects of sad versus happy mood induction. (PDF, 196 KB) Cognition and Emotion, 24, 497-513.

Lackner, C. L., Bowman, L. C. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2010) Dopaminergic functioning and preschoolers’ theory of mind. (PDF, 369 KB) Neuropsychologia, 48, 1767-1774.

Sabbagh, M. A, Hopkins, S. F. R., Benson, J. E., & Flanagan, J. R. (2010). Conceptual change and preschoolers‘ theory of mind: Evidence from load-force adaptation. (PDF, 391 KB) Neural Networks.

Henderson, A. M. E. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2010). Parents use of conventional and unconventional labels in conversations with their preschoolers. (PDF, 135 KB) Journal of Child Language, 37, 793-816.


Liu, D., Sabbagh, M. A., Gehring, W. J, & Wellman, H. M. (2009). Neural correlates of theory of mind reasoning in adults and children. (PDF, 1.2 MB) Child Development, 80, 318-326.

Sabbagh, M. A., Bowman, L. C., Evraire, L. & Ito, J. M. B. (2009). Neurodevelopmental bases of preschoolers’ theory-of-mind development. (PDF, 557 KB) Child Development, 80, 1147-1162.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Shafman, D. (2009). How children block learning from ignorant speakers. (PDF, 223 KB) Cognition, 112, 415-422.

Saylor, M. M., Sabbagh, M. A., Fortuna, A., & Troseth, G. (2009). Preschoolers use speakers‘ preferences to learn words. (PDF, 193 KB) Cognitive Development, 24, 125-132.

Benson, J. E., Sabbagh, M. A. (2009). Theory of mind and executive functioning: A developmental neuropsychological approach. In P. Zelazo, E. Crone, & M. Chandler (Eds.). Developmental social cognitive neuroscience.


Baldwin, D. A., Loucks, J. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2008). Pragmatics of human action . In T. F. Shipley and J. Zacks (Eds.), Understanding Events: How humans see, represent and act on events.

Liu, D., Wellman, H. M., Tardif, T., & Sabbagh, M. A. (2008). Theory of mind development in Chinese children: A meta-analysis of false-belief understanding across languages and cultures. (PDF, 115 KB) Developmental Psychology, 44, 523-531.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Seamans, E. L. (2008). Intergenerational transmission of theory-of-mind. (PDF, 277 KB) Developmental Science, 11, 354-360.


Kalish C. W. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2007). Conventionality and cognitive development: Learning to think the right way. (PDF, 94 KB) New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 115, 1-9.

Moses, L. J. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2007). Interactions between domain specific and domain general processing in the development of children's theory of mind. In M. J. Roberts (Ed.) Integrating the mind: Domain general versus domain specific processes in higher cognition (pp. 275-291). New York: Psychology Press.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Henderson, A. M. E. (2007). How an appreciation of conventionality shapes early word learning. (PDF, 107 KB) New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 115, 25-38.


Sabbagh, M. A. (2006). Neurocognitive bases of preschoolers' theory-of-mind development: Integrating cognitive neuroscience and cognitive development. (PDF, 557 KB) In P. Marshall & N. Fox (Eds.). The Development of Social Engagement: Neurobiological Perspsectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sabbagh, M. A., Henderson, A. M. E. & Baldwin, D. A. (2006). What infants' understanding of referential intentions tells us about the neuro-cognitive underpinnings of word learning. In R. Flom, K. Lee, & D. Muir (Eds), Gaze-Following: Its development and significance (pp. 171-192). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Sabbagh, M. A., Moses, L. J., & Shiverick, S. M. (2006). Executive functioning and preschoolers' understanding of false beliefs, false photographs, and false signs. (PDF, 148 KB) Child Development, 77, 1034-1049.

Sabbagh, M. A., Xu, F., Carlson, S. M., Moses, L. J., Lee, K., (2006). Executive functioning and theory of mind in preschool children from Beijing, China: Comparisons with U.S. preschoolers. (PDF, 1 MB) Psychological Science, 17, 74-81.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Flynn, J. (2006). Mid-frontal EEG alpha asymmetries predict individual differences in one aspect of theory of mind: Mental state decoding. (PDF, 194 KB) Social Neuroscience, 1, 299-308.


Harkness, K. L., Sabbagh, M. A., Jacobson, J. A., Chowdrey, N., & Chen, T. (2005). Sensitivity to subtle social information in dysphoric college students: Evidence for an enhanced theory of mind. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 999-1026. (order of 1st two authors is alphabetical).

Lee, L., Harkness, K. L., Sabbagh, M. A., & Jacobson, J. A. (2005). Mental state decoding abilities in clinical depression. (PDF, 258 KB) Journal of Affective Disorders, 86, 247-258.

Moses, L. J., Carlson, S. M., & Sabbagh, M. A. (2005). On The Specificity of the Relation between Executive Function and Children's Theories of Mind. In W. Schneider, R. Schumann-Hengsteler & B. Sodian (Eds.), Young Children's Cognitive Development: Interrelationships among Executive Functioning, Working Memory, Verbal Ability, and Theory of Mind(pp. 131-145). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Sabbagh, M. A., & Baldwin, D. A. (2005). Understanding the role of perspective taking young children's word learning. In N. Eilan, C. Hoerl, T. McCormack, & J. Roessler (Eds.). Joint Attention: Communication and other minds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Callanan, M. A. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2004). Multiple labels in conversations between young children and their mothers. Developmental Psychology, 40, 746-763.

Sabbagh, M. A. (2004). Recognizing and reasoning about mental states: Understanding orbitofrontal contributions to theory of mind and autism. (PDF, 342 KB) Brain and Cognition, 55, 209-219.

Liu, D., Sabbagh, M. A., Gehring, W. J., & Wellman, H. M. (2004). Decoupling beliefs from reality in the brain: An ERP study of theory of mind. (PDF, 197 KB) NeuroReport. 15, 991-995.

Saylor, M. M., Baldwin, D. A., Sabbagh, M. A. (2004). Coordinating multiple sources of information in word learning . In G. Hall; S. Waxman (Eds.) Weaving a Lexicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Saylor, M. M. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2004). Different kinds of information affect word learning in the preschool years: The case of part-term learning. (PDF, 279 KB) Child Development, 75, 395-408.

Sabbagh, M. A., Moulson, M., Harkness, K. L. (2004). Neural correlates of mental state recognition in human adults: An ERP study . Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 415-426.

2003 and Earlier

Sabbagh, M. A., Wdowiak, S. & Ottaway, J. M. (2003). Do word learners ignore ignorant speakers? (PDF, 117 KB) Journal of Child Language, 30, 905-924.

Saylor, M. M., Sabbagh, M. A., & Baldwin, D. A. (2002). Children use implicit contrast as a pragmatic cue to word meaning. Developmental Psychology, 38, 993-1103.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Baldwin, D. A. (2001). Learning words from knowledgeable versus ignorant speakers: Links between preschoolers’ theory of mind and semantic development. (PDF, 350 KB) Child Development, 72, 1054-1070.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Gelman, S. A. (2000). Buzzsaws and Blueprints: What children need (or don’t need) to learn language. (PDF, 148 KB) Journal of Child Language, 22, 715-726. Followed by commentary and response.

Sabbagh, M. A.Taylor, M. (2000). Neural correlates of theory of mind reasoning in adults: An event-related potential study. (PDF, 1.2 MB) Psychological Science, 11, 46-50.

Callanan, M. A., Cervantes, C. A., Sabbagh, M. A. (1999). Conversation and conceptual development: Challenges, alternatives and future directions. Human Development, 42 , 356-361.

Sabbagh, M. A. (1999). Communicative intentions and language: Evidence from right hemisphere damage and autism. Brain and Language, 70, 29-69.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Clegg, B. A. (1999). Some costs of assimilating data to the implicit/explicit distinction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 783-784.

Sabbagh, M. A. & Callanan, M. A. (1998). Metarepresentation in action: Children’s theories of mind developing and emerging in parent-child conversations. Developmental Psychology, 34, 491-502.

Taylor, M. & Sabbagh, M. A. (1996). Review of Children Talk About the Mind. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 42, 612-619.