Max Planck Institute for Human Development


Current Research Results

Children Adapt Their Questions To Achieve Efficient Search

Adaptive Behavior and Cognition

Ruggeri, A., & Lombrozo, T. (2015). Children adapt their questions to achieve efficient search. Cognition, 143, 203–216. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.07.004

One way to learn about the world is by asking questions. We investigate how younger children (7- to 8-year-olds), older children (9- to 11-year-olds), and young adults (17- to 18-year-olds) ask questions to identify the cause of an event. We find a developmental shift in children’s reliance on hypothesis-scanning questions …

Children adapt their questions to achieve efficient search | Cover page

Normal Aging Increases Postural Preparation Errors: Evidence from a Two-Choice Response Task with Balance Constraints

Lifespan Psychology

Verrel, J., Lisofsky, N., Kühn, S., & Lindenberger, U. (2016). Normal aging increases postural preparation errors: Evidence from a two-choice response task with balance constraints. Gait & Posture, 44, 143–148. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2015.12.002

Correlational studies indicate an association between age-related decline in balance and cognitive control, but these functions are rarely addressed within a single task. In this study, we investigated adult age differences in a two-choice response task with balance constraints under three levels of response conflict ...

Verrel et al., 2016 | Cover

Developmental Eye-Tracking Research in Reading

MPRG "Reading Education and Development (REaD)"

Hyönä, J., Schroeder, S., & Liversedge, S. P. (Eds.). (2015): Developmental eye-tracking research in reading [Special Issue]. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 27 (5). Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.
doi: 10.1080/20445911.2015.1046877

Extending our understanding of the interplay between visual and cognitive processes during reading is essential to understand how reading develops and changes across the lifespan. Monitoring readers’ eye movements provides a fine-grained online protocol of the reading process as it evolves over time, but until recently eye movements have rarely been collected …

Journal of Cognitive Psychology | Cover

Civilizing Emotions. Concepts in Nineteenth Century Asia and Europe

History of Emotions

Pernau, M., Jordheim, H., Bashkin, O., Bailey, C., Benesch, O., Ifversen, J., Kia, M., Majumdar, R., Messner, A. C., Park, M., Saada, E., Singh, M., & Wigen, E. (2015). Civilizing Emotions. Concepts in Nineteenth Century Asia and Europe. Oxford University Press, U. K. ISBN 978-0-19-874553-2

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the vocabulary of civility and civilization is very much at the forefront of political debate. Most of these debates proceed as if the meaning of these words were self-evident. This is where Civilizing Emotions intervenes, tracing the history of the concepts of civility and civilization and  thus adding a level of self-reflexivity …

Civilizing Emotions (M. Pernau et al.) | Cover

The Amplification of Risk in Experimental Diffusion Chains

Adaptive Rationality

Moussaïd, M., Brighton, H., & Gaissmaier, W. (2015). The amplification of risk in experimental diffusion chains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1421883112

Understanding how people form and revise their perception of risk is central to designing efficient risk communication methods, eliciting risk awareness, and avoiding unnecessary anxiety among the public. However, public responses to hazardous events such as climate change, contagious outbreaks, and terrorist threats are complex and difficult-to-anticipate phenomena....

The amplification of risk in experimental diffusion chains | Cover of the articl

About the Institute

Institute's Brochure 2015 | Cover

How Effective Is Brain-Gaming?

The assertation that older people can improve their general cognitive performance and guard against dementia by playing brain games is not scientifically grounded. More than 70 leading scientists from all over the world have published a statement about this.


Study Participation

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