Graduate Research

Thinking about attending graduate school at UCR?


Please feel free to contact Dr. Richert by email ( or phone (951-827-4804) for more information about being a graduate student in the Childhood Cognition Lab.

Interested in participating in current paid research opportunities?
Families with kids ages 4-10 are invited!

Southern California Research Studies

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"God's Moral Concepts"

Researcher:  Bolivar Reyes-Jaquez

Children are often exposed to a variety of models during childhood, who serve as sources of information about what actions are considered right or wrong. Some of these models may include both “natural” agents (for example, parents, teachers, and peers) and “supernatural” agents (for example, God, Jesus, and angels). Due to the different “natures” of some of these models, children may form different beliefs about how likely it is for some (e.g., their dad) versus other (e.g., God) models to sometimes fail to act morally. In this study, 6- to 10-year-old children will hear stories describing comparable situations that involve either people only (e.g., a contestant offering a judge a gift in order to win the contest) or people and God (e.g., a contestant offering God to attend Church in order to win the contest). Children will then be asked to state their opinion about the appropriateness of the actions of those involved in the situations. This study will help understand, for example, whether and when people begin to form a concept of God’s morality that differs from that of humans’ morality.

National Research Study

"Perceived Similarity, Theory of Mind, and Prosocial Behavior"

Researcher: Courtney Baugh

Research has shown that feeling similar to a media character can help us learn from that character and can affect the ways we think about that character.  Children have many options for educational media available to them, and it is important that we understand how children view and feel about the characters they are watching.  Most importantly, we seek to investigate how to use feelings of similarity to characters to help children learn.  In this study, children will help us write a story.  Children will get to create the main characters of the story, and then decide how those characters respond to situations in the story (such as, getting sneezed on!).  Children will be asked questions about how the characters feel, and they will also complete 2 tests assessing general cognitive ability (specifically, theory of mind and executive function).  As a thank-you for participating, children will be sent the story they wrote and another book of their choice.  This study will help us understand how children view similarity and dissimilarity, and how those concepts affect the way children judge a character's thoughts and emotions.