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Kristin H. Lagattuta


  • Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan, 1999
  • B.A., Psychology, Stanford University, 1993


In addition to her academic appointment in the Department of Psychology, Kristin Hansen Lagattuta is a core faculty member at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis. She studies age-related changes and individual differences in emotion understanding, theory of mind, moral cognition, and past-to-future reasoning. She is the editor of the 2014 book, Children and emotion: New insights into developmental affective science. She is an Associate Editor at Developmental Psychology and also serves on the editorial boards of Child Development, Cognitive Development, Emotion, and Merrill-Palmer Quarterly

Research Focus

Professor Lagattuta’s research examines children’s understanding of emotions and decisions caused by being reminded about past events or by anticipating future events, children’s reasoning about causes of fear and worry, and strategies that can help alleviate negative emotions, children’s beliefs about the effects of emotions on thinking, children’s knowledge about the influence of optimistic versus pessimistic thoughts and expectations on emotions and decisions, and children’s reasoning about mental diversity and common ground in interpretation. She also conducts research that bridges theory of mind and moral reasoning, including studies on children’s beliefs about the emotional consequences of willpower, transgression and altruistic helping, as well as children’s social categorization in moral and non-moral contexts. 

Selected Publications

  • Goldfarb, D., Lagattuta, K. H., Kramer, H. J., Kennedy, K., & Tashjian, S. (2017): When your kind cannot live here: How generic language and criminal sanctions shape social categorization. To appear in Psychological Science.
  • Lagattuta, K. H., & Kramer, H. J. (2017).  Try to look on the bright side:  Children and adults can (sometimes) override their tendency to prioritize negative faces.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  General, 146, 89-101.
  • Kramer, H.J., Goldfarb, D., Tashjian, S.M., & Lagattuta, K.H. (2017). “These pretzels are making me thirsty:” Older children and adults struggle with induced-state episodic foresight. Child Development, 88, 1554-1562.
  •  Lagattuta, K. H., Kramer, H. J., Kennedy, K., Hjortsvang, K., Goldfarb, D., & Tashjian, S. (2015). Beyond Sally’s missing marble: Further development in children’s understanding of mind and emotion in middle childhood. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 48, 185-217.
  • Weller, D., &  Lagattuta, K. H. (2014). Children’s judgments about prosocial decisions and emotions: Gender of the helper and recipient matters. Child Development, 85, 2011-2028.
  • Lagattuta, K. H. (2014). Linking past, present, and future: Children's ability to connect mental states and emotions across time. Child Development Perspectives, 8, 90-95
  • Lagattuta, K. H., & Weller, D. (2014). Interrelations between theory of mind and morality: A developmental perspective. In M. Killen and J. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of moral development (2nd edition, 385-407). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Lagattuta, K. H., & Sayfan, L. (2013). Not all past events are equal: Biased attention and emerging heuristics in children’s past-to-future forecasting. Child Development, 84, 2094-2111.



Professor Lagattuta has taught courses in Cognitive Development, Advanced Cognitive Development, Developmental Psychology (graduate and undergraduate), Development of Psychological Understanding, and Topics in Developmental Psychology.


Professor Lagattuta has won a number of awards throughout her career. In 2015, she received the UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching.  Dr. Lagattuta was also honored with the UC Davis Social Sciences Dean's Award for Scientific Innovation in 2013 and the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. She is the Primary Investigator for UC Davis for the multi-site (Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UC Davis) Predoctoral Training Consortium in Affective Science, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. She has also received research funding from the National Science Foundation and the Amini Foundation.