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Dr. Victoria Southgate

Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow

Senior Lecturer

VickyCentre for Brain and Cognitive Development

School of Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London

Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX

Phone: +44 (0)20 7079 0764

Fax: +44 (0)20 7631 6587



Research interests

I am interested both in how infants learn about other people and how they learn from other people.  Part of my research focuses on how infants make sense of other people and their actions, from how the infant brain processes people and actions, to infants understanding that actions are driven by epistemic and volitional states and that sometimes these might differ from the infants own.  A second part of my research involves understanding how infants interpret other people's communication, and how this functions to ensure the efficient acquisition of cultural knowledge.

Curriculum vitae

Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College (October 2009 - 2014)

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College (October 2004 - 2009)

PhD Psychology, University of St Andrews, 2005.


In press

de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Johnson, M.H., & Southgate, V. (in press). An EEG study on the somatotopic organisation of sensorimotor cortex activation during action execution and observation in infancy. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

Begus, K., Southgate, V., & Gliga, T. (in press). Neural mechanisms of infant learning: Differences in frontal theta activity during object exploration modulate subsequent object recognition. Biology Letters.



Begus, K., Gliga, T., & Southgate, V. (2014). Infants learn what they want to learn: Responding to infant pointing leads to superior learning. PLoS One, 9(10)

de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Johnson, M.H., Heyes, C.M., & Southgate, V. (2014). Baby Steps: Investigating the development of perceptual-motor couplings in infancy. Developmental Science, 18(2), 270-280.

Southgate, V., Begus, K., Lloyd-Fox, S., di Gangi, V., & Hamilton, A. (2014). Goal representation in the infant brain. Neuroimage, 85, 294-301.

Southgate, V., & Vernetti, A. (2014). Belief-based action prediction in preverbal infants. Cognition, 130, 1-10.

Southgate, V. (2014). Early manifestations of mind reading. In S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg & M. Lombardo (Eds.), Understanding Other Minds, 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press.


Southgate, V. (2013). Does infant behaviour provide support for the mirror neuron theory of action understanding? Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 1114-1121.

Southgate, V., & Begus, K. (2013). Motor activation during the observation of non-executable actions in infants. Psychological Science, 24(6), 828-835.


Begus, K., & Southgate, V. (2012). Infant pointing serves an interrogative function. Developmental Science.pdf format

Hernik, M., & Southgate, V. (2012). On the role of preference and persistence in infants' goal attribution. Target article with commentaries. Developmental Science, 15(5), 714-722.pdf format

Gliga, T., & Southgate, V. (2012). A brain prepared for a social world. In C. Brownell & V. Slaughter (Eds.) Early Development of Body Representations. Cambridge University Press.


Hutto, D., Herschbach, M., & Southgate, V. (2011). Social Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 2, 375-395.pdf format

Senju, A., Southgate, V., Snape, C., Leonard, M., & Csibra, G. (2011). Do 18-month-olds really attribute mental states to others? A critical test. Psychological Science, 22, 878-880.pdf format


Southgate, V., Chevallier, C., & Csibra, G. (2010). Seventeen-month-olds appeal to false beliefs to interpret others' referential communication. Developmental Science, 16, 907-912 .pdf format

Southgate, V., Johnson, M.H., El Karoui, I., & Csibra, G. (2010). Motor system activation reveals infants' online prediction of others' goals. Psychological Science, 21, 355-359.pdf format

Senju, A., Southgate, V., Miura, Y., Matsui, T., Hasegawa, T., Tojo, Y., Osanai, H., & Csibra, G. (2010). Absence of spontaneous action anticipation by false belief attribution in children with autism spectrum disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 353-360.pdf format


Southgate, V., Johnson, M.H., Osborne, T., & Csibra, G. (2009). Predictive motor activation during action observation in human infants. Biology Letters, 5, 769-772.pdf format

Southgate, V., & Csibra, G. (2009). Inferring the outcome of an ongoing novel action at 13 Months. Developmental Psychology, 45, 1794-1798.pdf format

Southgate, V., Chevallier, C., & Csibra, G. (2009). Sensitivity to communicative relevance tells young children what to imitate. Developmental Science, 12, 1013-1019.pdf format

Senju, A., Southgate, V., White, S., & Frith, U. (2009). Mindblind eyes: an absence of spontaneous theory of mind in asperger syndrome. Science, 325 (5942), 883-885.pdf format


Southgate, V., Gergely, G., & Csibra, G. (2008). Does the mirror neuron system and its impairment explain human imitation and autism? In J.A. Pineda (Ed.), The Role of Mirroring Processes in Social Cognition. Humana Press.pdf format

Southgate, V., & Hamilton, A.F. (2008). Unbroken mirrors: challenging a theory of autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12 (6), 225-229.pdf format

Southgate, V., Johnson, M.H., & Csibra, G. (2008). Infants attribute goals even to biomechanically impossible actions. Cognition, 107, 1059-1069.pdf format

Southgate, V., Csibra, G., Kaufman, J., & Johnson, M.H. (2008). Distinct processing of objects and faces in the infant brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 741-749 .pdf format


Southgate, V., Senju, A., & Csibra, G. (2007). Action anticipation through attribution of false belief in two-year-olds.  Psychological Science, 18 (7), 587- 592.pdf format

Southgate, V., van Maanen, C., & Csibra, G. (2007).  Infant pointing: communication to cooperate or communication to learn?  Child Development, 78 (3), 735-740.pdf format


Southgate, V., & Gomez, J.C. (2006). Searching beneath the shelf in macaque monkeys: evidence for a gravity bias or a foraging bias?  Journal of Comparative Psychology, 120 (3), 314-321.pdf format

Csibra, G., & Southgate, V. (2006). Evidence for infants understanding of false beliefs should not be dismissed.  Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10 (1), 4-5.pdf format


Southgate, V., & Meints, K. (2000). Typicality, naming and category membership in young children. Cognitive Linguistics, Special Issue: Language Acquisition, 11 (1/2), 1-12.