Brandon Woo

Brandon Woo

Assistant Professor


Research Area

Developmental and Evolutionary Psychology


Brandon Woo received his BSc from the University of British Columbia and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and by a Knox Memorial Fellowship. Brandon is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and he will be joining the faculty at UCSB in July 2024. Brandon is committed to improving transparency and inclusion in science, and he currently serves on the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging committee in Harvard's psychology department.


Human beings are one of the most social and cooperative species on Earth. My research program asks how humans come to understand others' actions and minds, particularly in social contexts. Through studies of infants and toddlers, my lab aims to reveal our early-emerging knowledge of other people and to characterize the developmental foundations of human learning, cooperation, and social life more broadly. Current interests include (i) infants', children's, and adults' understanding of the mental states of individuals engaged in social actions and (ii) infants' and children's understanding of the mental states of individuals within their social networks. The overarching goal here is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of early mental state reasoning.

Selected Publications

Woo, B. M., & Spelke, E. S. (2023). Toddlers’ social evaluations of agents who act on false beliefs. *Developmental Science*.

Woo, B. M., & Spelke, E. S. (2023). Infants and toddlers leverage their understanding of action goals to evaluate agents who help others. *Child Development*.

Woo, B. M., Tan, E., Yuen, F. L., & Hamlin, J. K. (2023). Socially evaluative contexts facilitate mentalizing. *Trends in Cognitive Sciences*, *27*, 17-29.

Woo, B. M., Tan, E., & Hamlin, J. K. (2022). Human morality is based on an early-emergy moral core. *Annual Review of Developmental Psychology*, *4*, 41-61.

Thomas, A. J., Woo, B. M., Nettle, D., Spelke, E. S., & Saxe, R. (2022). Early concepts of intimacy: young humans use saliva sharing to infer close relationships. *Science*, *375*, 311-315.

Woo, B. M., Steckler, C. M., Le, D. T., & Hamlin, J. K. (2017). Social evaluation of intentional, truly accidental, and negligently accidental helpers and harmers by 10-month-old infants. *Cognition*, *168*, 154-163.