Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


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Mark Sabbagh

Photo of Mark Sabbagh


B.A., University of California, 1993
M.A., University of Oregon, 1996
Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1998

T: 613.533.2887

348 Humphrey Hall
Psychology Department
Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

Research Interests

My research concerns young children's "theory of mind" and language development, with a special interest the social-cultural, cognitive and neurobiological factors that pace development in these domains. Research from our lab uses naturalistic methods along with experimental and brain electrophysiological (EEG/ERP) methods to address these issues.

Selected Publications

Mangardich, H. M. & 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 S. Ghetti (Ed.) Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (4th ed.). New York: Wiley.

Bardikoff, N. F. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2016). The differentiation of executive functioning across development: Insights from developmental cognitive neuroscience. To appear in N. Budwig, E. Turiel, & P. D. Zelazo (Eds.), New Perspectives On Human Development

Mangardich, H. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2016). Children remember words from ignorant speakers but do not attach meaning: Evidence from event-related potentials. Developmental Science.

Sabbagh, M. A., Koenig, M. A., & Kuhlmeier, V. A. (2016). Conceptual constraints and mechanisms in children's selective social learning. Developmental Science. sdoi: 10.1111/desc.12415 

Schell, V. E. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2016). Theory of mind and communication: Developmental perspectives. To appear in A. Bar-On & D. Ravid (Eds.). Handbook of communication disorders: Theoretical, empirical and applied linguistics perspectives. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 

Sabbagh, M. A. (2015). Dopamine and theory of mind development. In J. Sommerville & J. Decety (Eds.) Social Cognition: Frontiers in Developmental Science. New York: Psychology Press. 

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. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2485-2497.

Mo, S., Su, Y., Sabbagh, M. A., & Xiu, J. (2014). Sentential complements and false belief understanding in Chinese Mandarin-speaking preschoolers: A training study. Cognitive Development, 29, 50-61.

 Xu, F., Han, Y., Sabbagh, M. A., Wang, T., Ren, X., & Li, C. (2013). Developmental di erences in the structure of executive function in middle childhood and adolescence. PLoS One, 8, E77770.

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

Henderson, A. M. E., Sabbagh, M. A., & Woodward, A. L. (2013). Preschoolers' selective learning is guided by the principle of relevance, Cognition, 126, 246-257.

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, Developmental Psychology.

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. Developmental Science, 15, 272-280.

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. Cognition and Emotion, 24, 497-513.

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

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

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

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