Our Team


rscott_web.jpg Dr. Rose Scott

Associate Professor
Psychological Sciences
School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts
Social Sciences and Management Building 310B
Office Phone: (209) 228-4362
Email: rscott@ucmerced.edu

I am interested in the development of the cognitive abilities that enable successful social interactions. My primary line of research examines the development of social cognition in early childhood. The majority of my research in this area focuses on the development of psychological reasoning or 'theory of mind': the ability to reason about the mental states (e.g., goals, preferences, thoughts, and feelings) that drive people's behavior. In particular, I am interested in when children develop the ability to represent and reason about others' false beliefs, how false-belief reasoning develops across early childhood, and the cognitive and social factors that contribute to this development. I also have a second line of work in this area examining children's understanding of social categories such as race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. In addition to my research on social cognition, I am also interested in language acquisition in early chilldhood. Whenever children encounter a new word, the referential scene offers many potential interpretations. My work in this area investigates how children resolve this residual ambiguity, focusing on the possibility that children refine their interpretation of a word by integrating information across multiple information sources and observations.

Research Coordinator

img_7524.jpg I graduated from UC Merced in 2021 with a B.S. in Cognitive Science and a minor in Psychology. Throughout my undergraduate I worked as research assistant in the Stress lab and I.D.E.A lab. Since graduating, I have become the Lab coordinator for the CECL lab. I look forward to pursuing a graduate degree in the field of psychology.





Graduate Students

img_20180627_191655-225x300_0.jpg James Sullivan

I am a fourth-year graduate student studying Developmental Psychology. I graduated from the University of California, Merced in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology. My research interests pertain to how socioeconomic status and other social factors influence parent-child interactions and how these interactions impact socio-cognitive outcomes such as false-belief understanding.




zhu-226x300_0.jpg Kailee Zhu

I am a third-year graduate student studying Developmental Psychology. I graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2018 with a M.Ed in Human Development and Psychology. I am interested in how children and adults think of social categories (ethnicity, socioeconomic status) and how their own background shapes their beliefs. 



Lab Alumni

johnbunce-227x300_0.jpg John Bunce

Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2017, University of California Merced
Current Position: Assistant Professor, CSU East Bay

My primary research interest is language acquisition especially as it applies children’s early word learning. My current research focuses on how perceptual, social, and linguistic information sources impacts children’s cross-situational word learning.



photo-226x300_0.jpeg Maritza Miramontes

B.A. in Psychology, 2018, University of California Merced
Current Position: PhD student in Developmental Psychology, University of California Davis

I graduated from UC Merced in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Cognitive Science. As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. Alex Main’s Family Development lab as a research assistant and then as a lab coordinator. After graduating, I worked as a behavior technician until becoming a research coordinator for Dr. Rose Scott. I want to pursue my doctorate in Developmental Psychology. My interests are in the influence of cultural, social, and environmental factors on adolescent emotional development and parent-adolescent interactions.


img_8626-214x300_0.jpg Megan Pronovost

Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2019, University of California Merced
Current Position: Assistant Professor, CSU Fresno

My program of research examines the origins and nature of stereotyping and prejudice in infancy, the features that infants expect social groups to share, and possible environmental influences on early social-group reasoning.




er_labphoto-1-225x300_0.jpg Erin Roby

Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2017, University of California Merced
Current Position: Director of Research, Video Interaction Project, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Broadly, my research investigates the factors that contribute to social cognitive development across the lifespan. More specifically, my research focuses on how particular social experiences, such as hearing and using mental-state language, relate to false-belief understanding. I am particularly interested in examining these relationships during the first years of life, and also during adulthood. In future work, I plan to broaden the focus of my research to examine how other social contexts relate to social cognitive development, and how the relationship between social experiences and false-belief understanding might vary across income level, culture, and language background.