Dr. Hanna Schleihauf

Universitair docent

I study the roots of human diversity: although each of us shares 99.99% of our genes with every other human on the planet, there is massive variation in our socio-cultural practices driven by our ability to learn from and interact with others. My research investigates socio-cognitive underpinnings of cultural learning, focusing on how cultural novices, children during early and middle childhood, grow into proficient cultural beings. To participate in culture, children need to acquire skills for (1) effective transmission of behaviors and (2) beliefs, as well as the (3) cognitive abilities and motivations to receive and adopt what is transmitted.

To study how these skills develop, I use a variety of methods, ranging from behavioral off- and online experiments, eye-tracking paradigms, and neuroscientific approaches. I am committed to contributing to a comprehensive understanding of cultural processes and their effects by taking a cross-cultural perspective (including participants from Kenya, China, Germany, and the United States) and carrying out cross-species comparisons for evolutionary insight (including humans and chimpanzees).