[pdf] Siddiqui, H., Cimpian, A., & Rutherford, M. D. (in press). Canadian children’s concepts of national groups: A comparison with children from the United States. Developmental Psychology.   


[pdf] Goudeau, S., & Cimpian, A. (in press). How do young children explain differences in the classroom? Implications for achievement, motivation, and educational equity. Perspectives on Psychological Science

[pdf] Horne, Z., & Cimpian, A. (2019). Intuitions about personal identity are rooted in essentialist thinking across development. Cognition, 191, 103981. 


[pdf] Christy, A. G., Schlegel, R. J., & Cimpian, A. (2019). Why do people believe in a “true self”? The role of essentialist reasoning about personal identity and the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(2), 386–416. 


[pdf] Hussak, L. J., & Cimpian, A. (2019). “It feels like it’s in your body”: How children in the United States think about nationality. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(7), 1153–1168. 


[pdf] *Horne, Z., *Muradoglu, M., & Cimpian, A. (2019). Explanation as a cognitive process. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(3), 187199. 


  • Notes: The authors marked with an asterisk contributed equally to the work. 

[pdf] Sutherland, S. L., & Cimpian, A. (2019). Developmental evidence for a link between the inherence bias in explanation and psychological essentialism. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 177, 265281. 


[pdf] Gelman, S. A., Cimpian, A., & Roberts, S. O. (2018). How deep do we dig? Formal explanations as placeholders for inherent explanations. Cognitive Psychology, 106, 4359. 


[pdf] Hussak, L. J., & Cimpian, A. (2018). Investigating the origins of political views: Biases in explanation predict conservative attitudes in children and adults. Developmental Science, 21, e12567. 


[pdf] Cimpian, A., Gollwitzer, P. M., & Oettingen, G. (2018). Intuition. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development (pp. 12191220). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

[pdf] Hussak, L. J., & Cimpian, A. (2018). Memory accessibility shapes explanation: Testing key claims of the inherence heuristic account. Memory & Cognition, 46(1), 68–88


[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Keil, F. C. (2017). Preface for the special issue on the Process of Explanation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24(5), 13611363. 


[pdf] Tworek, C. M., & Cimpian, A. (2016). Why do people tend to infer ought from is? The role of biases in explanation. Psychological Science, 27(8), 1109–1122.


[pdf] Hussak, L. J., & Cimpian, A. (2015). An early-emerging explanatory heuristic promotes support for the status quo. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(5), 739–752. 


[pdf] Sutherland, S. L., & Cimpian, A. (2015). An explanatory heuristic gives rise to the belief that words are well suited for their referents. Cognition, 143, 228–240.


[pdf] Cimpian, A. (2015). The inherence heuristic: Generating everyday explanations. In R. Scott & S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 1–15). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Salomon, E. (2014). The inherence heuristic: An intuitive means of making sense of the world, and a potential precursor to psychological essentialism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(5), 461–480. [target article]


[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Salomon, E. (2014). Refining and expanding the proposal of an inherence heuristic in human understanding. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(5), 506–527. [response to commentaries]

[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Steinberg, O. D. (2014). The inherence heuristic across development: Systematic differences between children’s and adults’ explanations for everyday facts. Cognitive Psychology, 75, 130–154.

[pdf] Salomon, E., & Cimpian, A. (2014). The inherence heuristic as a source of essentialist thought. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(10), 1297–1315.


[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Petro, G. (2014). Building theory-based concepts: Four-year-olds preferentially seek explanations for features of kinds. Cognition, 131(2), 300–310.

[pdf] Cimpian, A. (2013). Generic statements, causal attributions, and children’s naive theories. In M. R. Banaji & S. A. Gelman (Eds.), Navigating the Social World: What infants, children, and other species can teach us (pp. 269–274). New York: Oxford University Press.

[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Erickson, L. C. (2012). The effect of generic statements on children’s causal attributions: Questions of mechanism. Developmental Psychology, 48(1), 159–170.

[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Markman, E. M. (2011). The generic/nongeneric distinction influences how children interpret new information about social others. Child Development, 82(2), 471–492.

[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Cadena, C. (2010). Why are dunkels sticky? Preschoolers infer functionality and intentional creation for artifact properties learned from generic language. Cognition, 117(1), 62–68.

[pdf] Cimpian, A., Gelman, S. A., & Brandone, A. C. (2010). Theory-based considerations influence the interpretation of generic sentences. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25(2), 261–276.

[pdf] Cimpian, A., & Markman, E. M. (2009). Information learned from generic language becomes central to children’s biological concepts: Evidence from their open-ended explanations. Cognition, 113(1), 14–25.

Our research is
supported by:

Institute of Education Sciences
National Science Foundation
National Institutes of Health
Spencer Foundation
Gates Foundation

Our research
partners include:

Brooklyn Children's Museum
Wildlife Conservation Society

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute of Education Sciences or the U.S. Department of Education.