Social learning, social cognition, and cognitive development in early childhood. How children's early learning is fundamentally shaped by the social context in which it occurs.

Dr. Butler's research program explores the nuanced interplay between two critical components of early learning: the capacity to learn important information about the world by making inductive inferences on the basis of limited evidence, and the ability to flexibly and selectively learn from others. By investigating this interplay across several important areas of learning—causal reasoning, inductive generalization, categorization, and normative judgment—as well as over the course of development, he is working to generate broad conclusions about how early cognitive development is fundamentally shaped both by the social context in which it occurs, and by children’s developing social cognitive capacities. Prior to joining the department, Dr. Butler completed his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University, and was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

2017            Research and Scholarship Award, University of Maryland

2016            Rising Star Award, Association for Psychological Science

2012-2014   Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

2011            Student Travel Award, Society for Research in Child Development

2011            Norman H. Anderson Research Fund, Stanford University

2011            Dissertation Research Award, American Psychological Association

2009-2012        Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation

2007-2008        Sidney Siegel Fellowship, Stanford University

2005            Harvard Psychology Faculty Prize for Distinguished Honors Thesis

2005            Jerome Kagan Undergraduate Research Award, Harvard University

Butler, L. P. (2020). The empirical child? A framework for investigating the development of scientific habits of mind. Child Development Perspectives14, 34-40.

Butler, L. P., *Gibbs, H., & *Levush, K. C. (2020). Look again: Pedagogical demonstration facilitates children's use of counterevidence. Child Development, 91, e1194-e1210.

Butler, L. P., *Gibbs, H. M., & Tavassolie, N. S. (2020). Children’s developing understanding that even reliable sources need to verify their claims. Cognitive Development54, 100871.

Butler, L. P., Ronfard, S., & Corriveau, K. H. (Eds.) (2020). The questioning child: Insights from psychology and education. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-1108428910

Butler, L. P., Schmidt, M. F. H., Tavassolie, N., & *Gibbs, H. (2018). Children’s evaluation of verified and unverified claims. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology176, 73-83.

Butler, L. P., & Markman, E. M. (2016). Navigating pedagogy: Children’s developing capacities for learning from pedagogical interactions. Cognitive Development, 38, 27-35.

Butler, L. P., & Tomasello, M. (2016). Two- and 3-year-old children integrate linguistic and pedagogical cues in guiding inductive generalizations and exploration. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 145, 64-78.

Schmidt, M. F. H., Butler, L. P., Heinz, J.,  & Tomasello, M. (2016). Young children see a single action and infer a social norm: Promiscuous normativity in 3-year-olds. Psychological Science.

Butler, L. P., Schmidt, M. F. H., Buergel, J., & Tomasello, M. (2015). Young children use pedagogical cues to modulate the strength of normative inferences. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33, 476-488.

Butler, L. P., & Markman, E. M. (2014). Preschoolers use pedagogical cues to guide radical reorganization of category knowledge. Cognition, 130, 116-12.

Butler, L.P., & Walton, G.M., (2013). The opportunity to collaborate increases preschoolers' motivation for challenging tasks. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 953-961.

Butler, L. P., & Markman, E. M. (2012). Preschoolers use intentional and pedagogical cues to guide inductive inferences and exploration. Child Development, 83, 1416-1428.

Butler, L. P., & Markman, E. M. (2012). Finding the cause: Verbal framing helps children extract causal evidence embedded in a complex scene. Journal of Cognition & Development, 13, 38-66.

2017-2018        Small Research Grant, Spencer Foundation. Children’s Developing Understanding that Claims About the World Need to be Verified. $49,935

2017-2018        Research and Scholarship Award, University of Maryland Asked and Answered: How Adults’ Explanatory Responses Influence Children's Causal Exploration and Discovery. $10,000

2015-2016    SPARC Assistant Professor Award, University of Maryland. How Parents Shape Children’s Learning From Evidence. $15,000