Recent News

September 2017

Dr. Lillard was recently awarded grants from the LEGO Foundation and the Wildflower Foundation, respectively.

Graduate student Jessica Taggart and Dr. Lillard were awarded a grant from the American Montessori Society to study how pretend and real activities affect children in Montessori classrooms! Read more about their research on Our Research page.

August 2017

Dr. Lillard's article Why do the children (pretend) play? is now in press in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

July 2017

Former student Lili Ma, now a professor at Ryerson University, and Dr. Lillard published a new article examining how two-year-olds' interpretation of behavioral cues in pretend play. You can read the article here.

Dr. Lillard was a Keynote Speaker at the 28th International Montessori Congress in Prague!

June 2017

Graduate student Jess Taggart, laboratory coordinator MJ Heise, and Dr. Lillard found that children prefer to do actual activities rather than their pretend counterparts. Read about their findings in Developmental Science.

May 2017

Former graduate student Rebecca Dore and Dr. Lillard have recently published findings on White children's pain perception of Black and White children. By age 5, White American children attributed lower value possessions to Blacks than Whites, indicating a recognition of racial group differences in economic hardship. Read the full article in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Dr. Lillard was invited to speak as a Keynote Speaker at at Montessori Asia Conference in Hong Kong!

April 2017

Distinguished Majors Sky Cardwell, Caroline Chamberlain, and Julia Rauen presented their honors thesis posters at the L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference in Charlottesville, VA!

Sky presents "Pretend Play as a Potential Regulator of Emotion in Young Children"
Caroline presents "The Impact of Prosocial Media on Children's Prosocial Behavior and Empathy"
Julia presents "Children's Preferences for Pretend and Real Activities and Roles"

Graduate students Jessica Taggart and Sierra Eisen, and lab coordinator MJ Heise presented research posters at the Society for Research in Child Development in Austin, TX.

December 2016

Former graduate students Rebecca Dore and Eric Smith have published findings illustrating that children adopt the traits of a character that they have read about in a story.

October 2016

Graduate student Sierra Eisen and lab coordinator MJ Heise presented research projects at the Society for Research in Child Development's Technology and Media in Children's Development Meeting in Irvine, CA.

May 2016


Dr. Lillard was a Keynote Speaker at the Hsin Yi Early Childhood Conference in Taipei, Taiwan on early childhood education.

March 2016


The UVA Child Development Labs were recently featured in C'ville Kids! Read the article here.

January 2016


When do children begin pretending to use bananas as telephones? This game is actually an illustration of a child's ability to separate the meaning of an object from the physical item. Dr. Lillard and colleagues recently published an article on children's understanding of object pretense in the Journal of Cognition and Development. Link to PDF

September 2015


The Early Development Lab welcomes its new lab coordinator, MJ Heise!

July 2015


Graduate student Jessica Taggart was accepted as a Fellow to the Lifespan Development, International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE). Learn more about LIFE.

June 2015


Graduate student Sierra Eisen was awarded a grant from the American Montessori Society to study how children learn from apps compared with hands-on materials. Thanks to all the children and families who have participated in her research!

April 2015


Congratulations to Rebecca Dore, who successfully defended her dissertation this week! This fall, Rebecca will be beginning an Institute for Education Sciences post-doctoral position in the lab of Roberta Golinkoff at the University of Delaware. Thanks to all the families who participated in her research!