Welcome to the Childhood Cognition Lab!

We are in the news! Read about our research here:

The research in the Childhood Cognition Lab explores the interaction between culture and cognitive development. To study this topic, our research focuses on the influence of religion, fantastical thinking, and media exposure on cognitive development. Please Browse our site and feel free to contact us with any questions.


Cognition & Religion:

According to various theorists, some aspects of religious thinking emerge seemingly naturally in the course of development (e.g., thoughts about immortality, purpose and design in nature, and omniscience), often precluding formal instruction. Therefore, studying the development of religious concepts provides a unique framework for studying the interaction between cognitive predispositions in information processing and cultural input. Within this line of research, our lab studies childrenís developing concept of God, the soul, and origin beliefs. Currently, we are conducting research into the role religious rituals play in the development of religious concepts, and the ways in which children understand prayer and communication with the supernatural.

Fantasy, Media, & Cognitive Development:

Our lab examines how childrenís understanding of the distinction between fantasy and reality relates to their learning from storybooks, television, DVDs, and interactive media. We have conducted studies on whether 12- to 24-month-old children learn from baby videos, the factors that influence whether preschool children will transfer information learned in fantasy stories to real-world situations, and the conditions under which preschool children learn from screen media. Additionally, we are exploring how interactive media may provide a unique kind of scaffolding to learning for children by conducting and designing studies focused on how tablet games and apps might impact how children learn and remember both educational (STEM) and non-educational content.


The research in this lab is supported by the Social Science Research Councilís New Directions in the Study of Prayer Initiative and an NSF REESE Grant (Grant # DRL-1252146). Previous research has been supported by the Templeton Foundationís Cognition, Religion, and Theology Project and the National Science Foundation (# 0623821).


Are you and your child interested in participating in one of our studies? Check out the Parents section of our webpage for more information.

Current Students:

Interested in working in our lab? Check out the Research Assistants section of our webpage for more information.

Future Graduate Students:

Thinking about attending graduate school at UCR? Please feel free to contact Dr. Richert by email (rebekahr@ucr.edu) or phone (951-827-4804) for more information about being a graduate student in the Childhood Cognition Lab.

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