Concordia University

Kristen Dunfield, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Office: L-PY 135-4 
Psychology Building,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4281
Website(s): CRDH Website

Research interests

My research focuses on how children interact with, learn from, and evaluate the people in their environment. Specifically, I examine the effect of social cognition on the development, production, and maintenance of trust and prosocial behaviour. The long-term goal of my research program is to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the effect of trust on human behaviour and development through the utilization of methods and theory from social, cognitive, and evolutionary psychology.

Work in my lab can broadly be divided into three related lines examining:

  1. how children extend trust to others through the production of prosocial behaviours,
  2. the development of children's ability to respond to other's displays of trustworthiness through selective social interactions
  3. individual difference factors that affect the tendency to extend trust


PhD (Queen's University)

Selected publications

Wagner, L., Dunfield, K.A. & Rohrbeck, K.L. (in press). Children's Use of Social Cues when Learning Conventions. Journal of Cognition and Development.

Cunningham, W.A., Dunfield, K.A., & Stillman, P.E. (in press). Emotional states from affective dynamics. Emotion Review.

Dunfield. K.A., Kuhlmeier, V.A. & Murphy, L.J. (2013). The roots of cooperation: Partner choice in young children. PLOS one.

Dunfield, K.A. & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2013). Classifying Prosocial Behaviour: Children's Responses to Instrumental Need, Emotional Distress, and Material Desire. Child Development.

Fitneva, S.A., Lam, N. & Dunfield, K.A. (2013). The Development of children's information gathering: To look or to ask. Developmental Psychology, 49, 533-542

Dunfield, K.A., Kuhlmeier, V.A., O'Connell, L.J. & Kelley, E.A. (2011). Examining the Diversity of Prosocial Behaviour: Helping, Sharing, and Comforting in Infancy. Infancy, 16, 227-247.

Dunfield, K.A. & Kuhlmeier, V.A. (2010). Intention-mediated selective helping in infancy. Psychological Science, 21, 523-527.

Fitneva, S.A., & Dunfield, K.A. (2010). Selective information seeking after a single encounter, Developmental Psychology, 46, 1380-1384.

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