Regular Faculty

Su-hua Wang
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Psychology Department
  • Phone
    831-459-2353
  • Email
  • Fax
    831-459-3519
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Social Sciences 2, Room 257
  • Office Hours Fridays 3:15-4:15 (Fall 2018)
  • Mail Stop Psychology Faculty Services
  • Courses Taught Psyc 10: Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Psyc 118E: The World of Babies, Psyc 247: Special Topics in Developmental Psychology

Summary of Expertise

Cognitive development situated in everyday experience; young children's use of technologies; action experience and learning; theory of mind; attention, memory, and representation.

Research Interests

Su-hua Wang’s research investigates cognitive development situated in sociocultural contexts, including technology, parent-child interaction, and children’s play.

She studies children’s use of interactive technologies to see how it affects communication and children’s development. For example, in a current project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF 1617253), she  collaborates with researchers in Computer Science and Computational Media to study how interactive technologies facilitate cleft speech therapy; they do so by considering the development of language and communication skills and the role of individual differences.

Her research on parent-child interaction shows that when attempting to teach their babies, parents provide the type of guidance that is supported by their unique cultural values and beliefs. These cultural variations in parental guidance underscore the importance of considering diverse approaches and activities in studying or supporting young children's learning.

She also continues her research program on infant cognition. This work shows that infants under a year of age can learn a new concept through watching just a few examples, and that hands-on experience reduces the amount of examples needed. Furthermore, infants transfer their learning across different modalities, from visual perception to hands-on action, and vice versa.

Additionally, her work on theory of mind shows an early ability in children to match linguistic cues to intentional actions in the context of humor. Toddlers as young as 15 months attend to emotional information in speech (i.e., whether it was humorous or sweet) and expect the speaker’s action to match the utterance (i.e., whether she should act in a humorous or sweet manner).

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S., M.S., National Taiwan University

Selected Publications

  • Wang, S., & Onishi, K. H. (in press). Enhancing young infants’ representations of physical events through improved retrieval (not encoding) of information. Journal of Cognition & Development.
  • Antrilli, N. K., & Wang, S. (2016). Visual cues generated during action facilitate 14-month-old infants’ mental rotation. Journal of Cognition & Development, 17, 418-429.
  • Wang, S., & Goldman, E. J. (2016). Infants actively construct and update their representations of physical events: Evidence from change detection by 12-month-olds. Child Development Research, 2016, 1-11.
  • Wang, S., Zhang, Y., & Baillargeon, R. (2016). Young infants view physically possible support events as unexpected: New evidence for rule learning. Cognition, 157, 100-105.