Dave Sobel


David Sobel received his B.A. in Psychology and Computer Science with distinction from Swarthmore College in 1995, and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California in 2001. He joined Brown’s Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences in 2001. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences. Research in his lab centers on cognitive development, specifically children’s causal reasoning and its relation to scientific thinking. He also studies the development of social cognition, including children's theory of mind, social learning, and prosocial behavior. With partners at Providence Children's Museum, the Roger Williams Zoo, and museums around the country he studies how parent-child interaction during informal learning relates to children's STEM learning and engagement. He is the author of three books, including Cognitive Development in Museum Settings: Relating Research to Practice (2016, Psychology Press) and Constructing Science: Connecting Causal Reasoning to Scientific Thinking (2022, MIT Press). He's been an Associate Editor for Developmental Psychology and a board member of the Cognitive Development Society. His current research is supported by NSF, and focuses on translating what has been learned about parent-child interaction in museum settings to fostering STEM learning and engagement in home environments.


  • CLPS0610/CLPS0611: Introduction to Cognitive Development
  • CLPS0620: Introduction to Social and Moral Development
  • CLPS1610: Cognitive Development
  • CLPS1680A: Social Learning
  • CLPS1680G: Play and Imagination
  • CLPS2002: Core Topics in Cognitive and Psychological Sciences 

Office Hours: 

Tuesdays 3-5pm, Metcalf Research Building, Room 238