Cristina Atance, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

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Dr. Atance is a developmental psychologist who is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa. When she was at I-LABS she was a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Meltzoff. Her primary area of interest is the development of future thinking in preschool-aged children. Scientists have discovered a lot about childrens memory for the past, but almost nothing is known about childrens understanding of the future. Dr. Atance is currently running a series of studies that explores childrens ability to think about and anticipate future states of the self, as well as the types of situations that may cause these states to arise. Of particular interest is the point in development when children are able to think about a future state that differs from their current one (e.g., anticipating being cold although one is currently hot). Childrens ability to contemplate such temporal aspects of their selves has implications for cognitive development theories, as well as for how parents and teachers can best talk with preschoolers about planning for the future (such as a trip to the park or what will happen after the child is picked up from preschool)

Dr. Atance is also interested in the development of theory of mind skills, and more specifically how such skills may be related to other aspects of young childrens cognitive development