Marissa L. Greif

Assistant Professor
Ph.D. Yale '05
Research Area: Developmental, Cognitive

Contact Information:
Office: BS 207
Telephone: (561) 297-3362
Fax: (561) 297- 2160

General Research Interests

Our daily lives are guided by interactions with manmade objects. From the pen in your hand, to your cup of coffee, to the racket you use to play tennis, artifact use reflects a host of cognitive, social, motor and perceptual processes that allow us to navigate the world successfully. In my lab, my students and I investigate the developmental roots of artifact knowledge. We take to heart the notion that 'technology' includes not only the objects themselves, but the procedures, practices, and applications with which they are associated.

Broadly, I am interested in the types of cues and strategies young children use to learn about and categorize objects. More specifically, I am interested in how they come to understand the functions and applications of artifacts and tools both conceptually, and in terms of practical problem solving.In recent years, our projects have examined preschool-aged children's information-seeking about artifacts in semi-naturalistic conversational settings, children's toy play, and their use of manmade objects and tools in problem solving. We have examined both child-initiated behavior, and children's learning of procedures though demonstration and imitation. We focus primarily on children aged 2 through 6 years of age. We also occasionally examine these issues with adult populations.

Recent publications

Gardiner, A., Bjorklund, D., Greif, M. L., & Gray, S. (in press). Choosing and using tools: Prior experience and task difficulty influence preschoolers’ tool use strategies. Cognitive Development

Greif, M.L., & Needham, A. (2012). The development of human tool use early in life. In T. McCormack (Ed.), Tool Use and Cognition. Oxford University Press.

Greif, M. L. (2011). A fresh look at the cognitive origins of Man the tool maker: A review of “Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition” (Eds., April Nowell & Iain Davidson; University Press of Colorado). Evolutionary Psychology, 9, 38-44.

Gardiner, A., Greif, M. L., & Bjorklund, D. (2011). Guided by Intention: Preschoolers’ Imitation Reflects Inferences of Causation. Journal of Cognition & Development, 12, 355-373

Danovitch, J., Greif, M. L., & Mills, C. (2010). Working with undergraduate research assistants: Setting up and maintaining a research lab. APS Observer, Teaching Tips, October 2010

Keil, F. C., Greif, M.L., & Kerner, R. S. (2007). A World Apart: How concepts of the constructed world are different in representation and in development. In S. Laurence & E. Margolis (Eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and their Representation. Oxford University Press.

Greif, M. L., Kemler Nelson, D. G., Keil, F., & Gutierrez, F. (2006). What do children want to know about animals and artifacts?: Domain-specific requests for information. Psychological Science, 17, 455-459.

Keil, F. C., Kim, N. S., & Greif, M. L. (2002). Categories and levels of information. In E. Forde and G. Humphreys (Eds.), Category Specificity in Brain and Mind. Psychology Press.