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  Nameera N Akhtar

Nameera N Akhtar




Social Sciences Division

Psychology Department



Regular Faculty

Social Sciences 2

(Winter 2024) (Zoom) Weds., 11am-12PM (Meeting ID: 941 4989 8439; Passcode: 350616)

Psychology Faculty Services

B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Dalhousie University

Cognitive and social cognitive processes in early language development, infants' social understanding.

Nameera Akhtar's research interests are in early cognitive and language development; in particular, how social and cognitive developments play a role in young children's understanding and use of language. Infants' and toddlers' social-cognitive understanding , and their motivation to connect with others, are assumed to be fundamental to language development.

One way in which the importance of social-cognitive factors is investigated is by examining how young children use their social understanding in early word learning, even in situations in which they are not even being addressed. Using experimental techniques in semi-natural interaction contexts, we study what and how children learn from third-party interactions. These studies show that young toddlers are very motivated to understand what others are saying and doing and that they attend strategically to others' interactions.

  • Akhtar, N., & Jaswal, V. K. (2020). Stretching the social: Broadening the behavioral indicators of sociality. Child Development Perspectives, 14(1), 28-33. 

  • Jaswal, V. K., & Akhtar, N. (2019a). Being versus appearing socially interested: Challenging assumptions about social motivation in autism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 42, e82: 1-73.

  • Jaswal, V. K., & Akhtar, N. (2019b). Supporting autistic flourishing. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

  • Lewin, N., & Akhtar, N. (2020). Neurodiversity and deficit perspectives in The Washington Post’s coverage of autism. Disability & Society

Psych 10: Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Psych 104: Development in Infancy
Psych 244A: Cognitive and Language Development

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