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Madison Pesowski

Dr. Madison Pesowski

Assistant Professor


Abbotsford campus, D220b

email Madison


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California, San Diego

PhD, University of Waterloo

MA.Sc, University of Waterloo

Teaching Interests

Dr. Pesowski’s teaching interests include developmental psychology, child psychology, introduction to psychology, and research methods.

Research Interests

Dr. Pesowski’s research focuses on the development of social cognition – particularly how children understand and predict people’s emotions and actions, and infer people’s mental states, such as their preferences. The goal of her research program is two-fold: First, she aims to examine how children integrate their theories of the social and physical world. In doing so, she asks how children use abstract and nonobvious features of objects, like ownership, to make social inferences and predictions. Second, she aims to understand the nature of children’s social reasoning. Do children use simple heuristics to understand others? Or are children’s social judgments driven by rich theories and rational inference?


Her research tends to focus on children between 2 to 7 years of age; though she is currently conducting an infant study with collaborators at the University of California, San Diego, and she has investigated how adults used objects to deal with the stress of the pandemic with collaborators at the University of Manitoba.


So far, her work has shown that children use ownership to predict people’s actions and emotions, and they consider it when allocating resources; children use objects’ histories to determine how special and valuable they are; and children use objects’ designs to reason about whether people have copied others’ ideas.


Pesowski, M.L.,Kelemen, D., & Schachner, A. (2021). Children use artifacts to infer others’ shared interests. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, K. Teßmar-Raible(Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 500-506).

Pesowski, M.L.& Friedman, O. (2019). Children value objects with distinctive histories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148, 2120-2128.

Pesowski, M.L.,Kanngiesser, P.,& Friedman, O. (2019). Give and take: Ownership affects how 2- and 3-year-olds allocate resources. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 185, 214-223.

Pesowski, M.L.& Friedman, O. (2018). Using versus liking: Young children use ownership to predict actions, but not to infer preferences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 169, 19-29.

Pesowski, M.L.,Denison, S., & Friedman, O. (2016). Young children infer preferences from a single action, but not if it is constrained. Cognition, 155, 168-175.

Pesowski, M.L.& Friedman, O. (2015). Preschoolers and toddlers use ownership to predict basic emotions. Emotion, 15, 104-108.


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