Dr. Susan Johnson

Associate Professor, Developmental

Johnson joined the faculty at OSU in the fall of 2009. She works on issues related to social cognitive development, particularly in infancy. Recent graduate students have worked on projects related to the cognition of attachment and social relationships, theory of mind, and number development.

Selected Publications

Johnson, S.C. & Chen, F.S. (in press). Socioemotional information processing in human infants: From genes to subjective construals. Emotion Review. Special Issue on Infant Emotions

O'Hearn, K. & Johnson, S.C. (In press). The disunity of inferential systems in infancy: The case of object tracking and goal detection. In V. Slaughter and C. Brownell (Eds.) Early Development of Body Representations. Cambridge University Press.

Johnson, S.C., Dweck, C., Chen, F.S., Ok., S.J., Stern, H.L., & Barth, M.E. (2010). At the intersection of social and cognitive development: Internal working models of attachment in infancy. Journal of Cognitive Science 34(5), 807-825.

Johnson, S.C., Dweck, C., & Chen, F.S. (2009). Evidence for infants’ internal working model of attachment. Reprinted in E.N. Dunn & C.J. Boyatsis (Eds.) Child Growth and Development, McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series, United Kingdom: Oxford.

Yoon, J.M.D. & Johnson. S.C. (2009). Biological motion displays elicit social inferences in 12- month-olds. Child Development 80(4), 1069-75. Special Issue on Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

Luo, Y. & Johnson, S.C. (2009). Recognizing the role of perception in action at 6 months. Developmental Science 12(1), 142-9.

Johnson, S.C., Bolz, M., Carter, E., Mandsanger, J., Teichner, A. & Zettler, P. (2008). Calculating the attentional orientation of an unfamiliar agent in infancy. Cognitive Development 23(1), 24-37.

Johnson, S.C., Shimizu, Y.A. & Ok, S-J. (2007). Actors and actions: The role of agent behavior in infants’ attribution of goals. Cognitive Development 22(3), 310-322.

Johnson, S.C., Dweck, C., & Chen, F.S. (2007). Evidence for infants’ internal working model of attachment. Psychological Science 18(6), 501–502.

Johnson, S.C., Ok, S-J., & Luo, Y. (2007). The attribution of attention: Nine-month-olds’ interpretation of gaze as goal-directed action. Developmental Science 10(5), 530-537.

Poulin-Dubois, D., Frenkiel-Fishman, S., Nayer, S., & Johnson, S.C., (2006). Infants' knowledge of motion and mental properties of animate and inanimate objects. Journal of Cognition and Development, 7(4), 431-453.

Johnson, S.C. & Ma, E. (2005). The role of agent behavior in observer’s mentalistic attributions. Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 723-728.

Johnson, S. C. (2005). Reasoning about intentionality in preverbal infants. In P. Carruthers, S. Laurence, & S. Stich. (Eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. Oxford University Press: New York, 254-271.

Shimizu, Y.A. & Johnson, S.C. (2004). Infants' attribution of a goal to a morphologically novel agent. Developmental Science 7(4), 425-430.

Johnson, S.C. (2003). Detecting agents. In C. Frith & D.Wolpert (Eds.), The Neuroscience of Social Interactions: Decoding, imitating and influencing the actions of others. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Johnson, S.C. (2003). Detecting agents. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 358, 549- 559.

German, T. & Johnson, S.C. (2002). Function and the origins of the design stance. Journal of Cognition and Development 3(2), 279-300.

Johnson, S.C., Booth, A., & O’Hearn, K. (2001). Inferring the unseen goals of a non-human agent. Cognitive Development, 16, 1, 637-656.

Johnson S.C., (2000). Williams syndrome and conceptual change in the domain of number. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 84D, Suppl. S.

Johnson, S.C. (2000). The recognition of mentalistic agents in infancy. Trends in Cognitive Science 4, 1, 22-28.

Carey, S. & Johnson, S.C. (2000). Metarepresentation and conceptual change: Evidence from Williams syndrome. In D.Sperber (Ed.), Metaprepresentation: A multidisciplinary perspective. Oxford University Press.

Solomon, G. & Johnson, S.C. (2000). Conceptual change in the classroom: Teaching young children to understand biological inheritance. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 18, 81-96.

Johnson, S.C. (1998). Folk taxonomies and folk theories: The case of Williams syndrome. Brain and Behavioral Science 21, 4, 578-579.

Johnson, S.C. & Carey, S. (1998). Knowledge enrichment and conceptual change in folk biology: Evidence from people with Williams syndrome. Cognitive Psychology 37, 156-200.

Johnson, S.C., Slaughter, V., & Carey, S. (1998). Whose gaze will infants follow? Features that elicit gaze-following in 12-month-olds. Developmental Science 1, 2, 233-238.

Johnson, S.C. & Solomon, G. (1997). Why dogs have puppies and cats have kittens: Young children’s understanding of biological origins. Child Development 68, 3, 404-419.

Johnson, S.C., Carey, S., & Levine, K. (1996). Dissociations in the conceptual development of people with Williams syndrome. Genetic Counseling 6, 2.

Solomon, G., Johnson, S.C., Zaitchik, D., & Carey, S. (1996). Like father like son: Young children's understanding of how and why offspring resemble their parents. Child Development 67, 151-171.


  • B.A.: Psychology & Mathematics, Vanderbilt University
  • Ph.D.: Cognitive Science, MIT

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