The Development of Social Cognition Laboratory    

at The University of Chicago


The DSC Lab Led by Katherine D. Kinzler, PhD

Often, It’s Not What You Say, But ‘How You Say It’

Interview with Art Silverman and Ari Shapiro

The Biases We Hold Against The Way People Speak: NYTimes Book Review of How You Say It

John McWhorter

Bias Against African American English Speakers is a Pillar of Systemic Racism

Dr. Kinzler and Dr. Sharese King


We study children to understand adults.

We are interested in the developmental origins of people’s social understanding, and how early experiences lay the groundwork for later social behavior. Studies of children can reveal incredible insights into the human mind – not just because children are interesting (though they are, of course) but also because studies of children elucidate our human nature.

We place particular emphasis on studying the emergence of social group preferences and attitudes, often investigating children’s attention to language or accent as a marker of group membership.

Through understanding basic mechanisms of human thinking, we aim to inform broader questions about education, law, and social policy.

Our team is led by Katherine D. Kinzler, who is Chair and Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago.


Recent Publication Highlight

Recently published book by Dr. Kinzler exploring the intersection of language, culture, and social cognition.

How You Say It makes a crisp but comprehensive case that although our distaste for ways of speaking that differ from ours is baked into us, true civilization requires that we work against it as much as possible.”

John McWhorter, 

New York Times Book Review

⇒ Find out more on our book page.

Calling all child scientists!

Interested in participating in our research?


We have recently adapted our studies to be run online

so that children and families can still be involved from home. 

Online Study Info

Contact Us

Interested in having your child participate in our research?

Who We Are

 Find out about our lab members, their projects, and their current research topics.

Our Partners

Visit the Center for Early Childhood Research for info about our collaborators and colleagues.