Behavior and Cognition

Tanya Behne

Department of Developmental Psychology
Georg-Elias-Müller Institute of Psychology


Research Interests


  • Social-cognitive development
  • Early communication and pragmatics
  • Social learning and imitation



Education and Employment

2009 -Independent Research Fellow, University of Göttingen
2007 - 2009Lecturer for Developmental Psychology, University of Manchester, UK
2005 - 2006Postdoctoral Fellow, MPI Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
2005Dr. rer. nat. (Psychology), University of Leipzig, Germany



Selected publications


Hermes, J., Behne, T., Bich, A. E., Thielert, C., & Rakoczy, H. (2017). Children's selective trust decisions: rational competence and limiting performance factors. Developmental Science , 00: e12527. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12527

Keupp, S, Bancken, C, Schillmöller, J, Rakoczy, H, Behne, T. (2016). Rational over-imitation: Preschoolers consider material costs and copy causally irrelevant actions selectively. Cognition,147, 85-92.

Hermes, J., Behne, T., & Rakoczy, H. (2015). The role of trait reasoning in young children's selective trust. Developmental Psychology, 51(11), 1574.

Behne, T., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2014). Young children create iconic gestures to inform others. Developmental Psychology, 50(8), 2049-2060.

Behne, T. (2014). Cultural Learning. In: Brooks P, Kempe V (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Language Development. Sage Publications, pp. 135?138.

Keupp, S., Behne, T., & Rakoczy, H. (2013). Why do children overimitate? Normativity is crucial. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116(2), 392-406.

Behne, T., Liszkowski, U., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2012). Twelve-month-olds' comprehension and production of pointing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30(3), 359-375.

Liebal, K., Behne, T., Carpenter, M., Tomasello, M. (2009). Infants use shared experience to interpret pointing gestures. Developmental Science, 12(2), 264-71.

Tomasello, M., Carpenter, M., Call, J., Behne, T., & Moll. H. (2005). Understanding and sharing intentions: The ontogeny of cultural cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 28, 675-735.

Behne, T., Carpenter, M., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2005). Unwilling versus unable: Infants' understanding of intentional action. Developmental Psychology, 41(2), 328-337.