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Sarah Suarez

Doctoral Student
B.S. Animal Science, Cornell University, 2011; M.A., Child Psychology, University of Minnesota, 2015

Interests: Cognitive development, family/parenting, early childhood

General Developmental Psychology


Sarah Suárez is a 5th year doctoral student from Puerto Rico. As an undergraduate Animal Science major, she became very interested in canine social learning, or the ways in which dogs and wolves learn from and about the animals and people around them. This interest led her to work in developmental labs studying social learning in infants and children, and she has been hooked ever since!

Her work with advisor Dr. Melissa Koenig has been dedicated to researching the ways by which young children optimize their own informal social learning, as well as the ways in which children's learning strategies reflect parent values. In her time at the Early Language and Experience Lab, she has conducted a series of studies examining the factors and/or processes that relate to the development of individual differences in young children’s testimonial learning.

As a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow, Sarah is studying potential parental and cognitive sources of individual differences in epistemological understanding and testimonial learning, and hopes to bridge the fields of educational and developmental psychology. In her spare time, Sarah serves as an Evaluation Intern and member of the Research Advisory Council for the Minnesota Children’s Museum, a member of ICD’s Diversity Committee, and a volunteer organizer for the 2017 Minnesota Symposium.

Selected Presentations

  1. Suárez, S. & Koenig, M. (revise and resubmit). Learning from “Thinkers”: Parent epistemological understanding predicts individual differences in children's judgments about reasoners.

    Suárez, S., & Koenig, M. (2016). The selective social learner as an agent of cultural group selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 39. doi:10.1017/S0140525X15000254

    Stephens, E., Suárez, S., & Koenig, M.A. (2015). Early Testimonial Learning: Monitoring Speech Acts and Speakers. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, Vol. 48.