Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


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Valerie Kuhlmeier

Photo of Valerie Kuhlmeier


B.A., UC San Diego, 1995
B.S., UC San Diego, 1995
M.A., Ohio State University, 1997
Ph.D., Ohio State University, 2000

Lab Site | Curriculum Vitae (PDF, 171 KB)

T: 613.533.2478

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

Research Interests

My research program explores cognition from a developmental and evolutionary perspective. I examine the origins of our cognitive capacities, focusing primarily on our abilities to distinguish animate and inanimate objects, to interpret the behavior and infer the mental states of others, and to engage in prosocial behaviour. Each is examined in a comparative manner, studying infants, young children, and non-human primates. The research thus relies upon both developmental and comparative psychology theory to form and test hypotheses.

Selected Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.


Olmstead, M.C. & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2015). Comparative Cognition. Cambridge University Press.

Rutherford, M.D. & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (Eds.) (2013). Social Perception: Detection and Interpretation of Animacy, Agency, and Intention. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/Bradford Books.

Representative Papers and Book Chapters:

Robson, S.J., & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2017). Pretend Play.  In J. Vonk & T. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. New York, NY: Springer.

Robson, S.J., & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2016).  Infants’ understanding of object-directed action: An interdisciplinary synthesis. Frontiers in Psychology, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00111

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

Robson, S.J., Lee, V., Kuhlmeier, V.A., & Rutherford, M.D. (2014). Infants use contextual contingency to guide their interpretation of others' goal-directed behavior. Cognitive Development, 31, 69-78.

Dunfield, K.A. & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2013). Classifying prosocial behaviour: children’s responses to instrumental need, emotional distress, and material desire. Child Development, 84, 1766-1776.

Dunfield, K.A., Kuhlmeier, V.A., O’Connell, L., & Kelley, E. (2011). Examining the diversity of prosocial behavior: helping, sharing, and comforting in infancy. Infancy, 16(3), 227-247.

Newman, G.E., Keil, F.C., Kuhlmeier, V.A., & Wynn, K. (2010). Early understandings of the link between agents and order.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 17140-17145.

Dunfield, K.A., & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2010). Intention-mediated selective helping in infancy. Psychological Science, 21, 523-527.

Yamaguchi, M., Kuhlmeier, V.A., Wynn, K., & vanMarle, K. (2009). Continuity in Social Cognition from Infancy to Childhood. Developmental Science, 12, 746-752.

Kuhlmeier, V.A., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (2003). Attribution of Dispositional States by 12-month-olds. Psychological Science, 14, 402-408.

Kuhlmeier, V.A., & Boysen, S.T. (2002). Chimpanzees' recognition of the spatial and object similarities between a scale model and its referent. Psychological Science, 13, 60-63.