Victoria Southgate

Senior Lecturer

Senior Lecturer

Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
School of Psychology,
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street, London,

Phone: +44 (0)20 7079 0764

Fax: +44 (0)20 7631 6587

Email: v.southgate at


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. 




Begus, K., Gliga, T., & Southgate, V. (in press). Infants’ preferences for native speakers are associated with an expectation of information. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Johnson, M.H., & Southgate, V. (2015). 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. (2015). 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)

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)

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)

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)


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)

Southgate, V., Johnson, M.H., El Karoui, I., & Csibra, G. (2010). Motor system activation reveals infants' online prediction of others' goals. Psychological Science, 21355-359.(PDF)

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)


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)

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

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

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)


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)

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

Southgate, V., Johnson, M.H., & Csibra, G. (2008). Infants attribute goals even to biomechanically impossible actions. Cognition, 1071059-1069.(PDF)

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)


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)

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


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)

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)


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