Sue Hespos

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Northwestern University


Other information

SILC Faculty Member and member of our Spatial Network.

Biographical Sketch:

Susan Hespos

Department of Psychology

Northwestern University

(a) Professional Preparation

Reed College




Emory University




University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana



Developmental Psych

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Brain and Cog Science


(b) Appointments

2009 -              Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology Northwestern University

2005 - 2009     Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology Northwestern University

2001 - 2005     Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University

1998 - 2001     Research Associate, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1996 - 1998     Research Associate, Dept. of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


(c) Publications

(i) Publications closely related to the proposed project

Hespos, S.J., Ferry, A., Rips, L. (2009). Five-month-old infants have different expectations for solids and liquids. Psychological Science, 20(5), 603 - 611.

Hespos, S. J. & Baillargeon, R. (2008). Young infants’ actions reveal their developing knowledge of support variables: Converging evidence for violation-of-expectation findings. Cognition, 107(1), 304 – 316.

Hespos, S. J. & Baillargeon, R. (2006). Decalage in infants’ reasoning about occlusion and containment events: Converging evidence from action tasks. Cognition, 99, B31 – B41.

Hespos, S.J., Gredebeck, G., von Hofsten, C., & Spelke, E.S. (2009). Occlusion is hard: Comparing predictive reaching for visible and hidden objects in infants and adults. Cognitive Science, 33, 1483 -1502.

Ferry, A., Hespos, S.J., & Waxman, S. (2010). Categorization in 3- and 4-month-old Infants: An Advantage of Words Over Tones. Child Development, 81(2), 472 - 479.

(ii) Other significant publications

Hespos, S. J. & Spelke, E. S. (2004). Conceptual precursors to spatial language. Nature, 430, 453 – 456.

Hespos, S. J. & Baillargeon, R. (2001b). Reasoning about containment events in very young infants. Cognition, 78, 207 – 245.

Hespos, S. J. & Baillargeon, R. (2001a). Infants’ knowledge about occlusion and containment: A surprising discrepancy. Psychological Science, 12(2), 141 – 147.

Hespos, S. J., & Piccin, T. (2009). To generalize or not to generalize: Spatial categories are influenced by physical attributes and language. Developmental Science, 12(1), 88 - 95.

Hespos, S. J., Saylor, M., & Grossman, S. (2009). Infants’ ability to parse continuous actions. Developmental Psychology, 45(2), 575-585.

Hespos, S. J. (2010) What is optical imaging? Journal of Cognition and Development, 11(1), 3 - 15.


(d) Synergistic Activities

-          Refinement of optical imaging techniques for use with human infants

-          Founder and manager of the infant/child subject pool at Northwestern University (acquisition of participants for 6 Northwestern research labs: Booth, Gentner, Hespos, Maye, Waxman, and Uttal)

-          Speeches to lay audiences about cognitive development: parent groups, birth classes, preschools and high schools to disseminate science concerning development.


(e) Collaborators and Other Affiliations


Renee Baillargeon                   University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Chris Cannestraci                    Vanderbilt University

John Gore                                Vanderbilt University

Gustaf Gredeback                   University of Oslo

Sohee Park                              Vanderbilt University

Paul Reber                               Northwestern University

Megan Saylor                          Vanderbilt University

Elizabeth Spelke                     Harvard University

Claes von Hofsten                  Uppsala University

Sandra Waxman                      Northwestern University

Lance Rips                              Northwestern University


Graduate and Postdoctoral Advisors

Philippe Rochat                       Graduate Advisor                   Emory University

Renee Baillargeon                   Postdoctoral Advisor              University of Illinois

Elizabeth Spelke                     Postdoctoral Advisor              Harvard University


Thesis Advisor and Postgraduate-Scholar Sponsor

Alissa Ferry                             current student                                    Northwestern University

Noa Ben-Amotz                      Thesis Advisor                        Tennessee Tech

Total number of graduate students advised = 2

Total number of postdoctoral scholars sponsored = 0