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Jillian Lauer


University Assistant Professor of Psychology

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Dr. Jillian Lauer is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. At Cambridge, Dr. Lauer directs the Cambridge University Development & Learning Lab, teaches and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students in Psychology & Education, and serves as the Route Coordinator for the MPhil in Psychology & Education.


Dr. Lauer completed their doctoral training in psychology at Emory University, where they studied the development of spatial, mathematical, and social cognition between infancy and early adulthood. After receiving their PhD in 2019, Dr. Lauer was awarded a three-year postdoctoral fellowship from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to study the development and consequences of children’s gender stereotypes at New York University. Dr. Lauer then joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge for Lent Term 2023. At Cambridge, Dr. Lauer directs the Cambridge University Development & Learning Lab, a research team that investigates the psychological origins of social and educational inequalities. Details of the lab’s current work are available at

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  •  Dissertation, Paper Coordinator & Examiner
  •  Formal & Informal Contexts of Learning, Lecturer
  •  Learning & Human Development, Lecturer
  •  Psychology of Creativity & Learning, Lecturer


  •  PhD, Supervisor & Advisor
  •  MPhil (Psychology & Education), Lecturer in Advanced Topics in Data Analysis, Anti-racism and Decolonisation in Research, Social Cognitive Development 
  •  MPhil (Psychology & Education), Route coordinator
  •  MPhil (Psychology & Education), Supervisor
  •  MPhil (Research Methods), Lecturer 

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Prospective PhD Applicants

Dr. Lauer is accepting PhD applications for 2025/2026 entry. PhD applicants are expected to have completed (or be in the process of completing) an MPhil in psychology at the time of PhD application.

Dr. Lauer will consider all PhD applicants whose research proposals align with their current research directions (see Current Research Projects below), focusing on cognitive and social-cognitive development in children aged 0 to 12 years. Dr. Lauer is not able to meet with potential applicants or provide input on proposals before a formal application is received, to ensure equity amongst applicants. Applicants do not need to contact Dr. Lauer before naming them as a prospective supervisor in the application. 

The funding application deadline for PhD applicants is in early December 2024. The majority of offers for doctoral study will be made in January 2024. Dr. Lauer will not consider applications received after December 2024.

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Current Research Project(s)

  •  The Developmental Psychology of American Coloniality
  •  The Development of Misogyny in Early Childhood
  •  A Meta-Analytic Investigation of the Development of Gender Differences in Maths Attitudes
  •  Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Spatial and Mathematical Reasoning 
  •  The Childhood Origins of Individual Differences in Righteous Dissent
  •  The Development of Diversity in Felt Gender Identities 
  •  The Origins of Intersectional Stereotypes about Competence & Warmth
  •  The Development & Consequences of Children's Emerging Beliefs about Social-Status Hierarchies

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Principal Publications

Lauer, J. E., Yhang, E., & Lourenco, S. F. (2019). The developmental of gender differences in spatial reasoning: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 145(6), 537–565.

Lauer, J. E., Esposito, A. G., & Bauer, P. J. (2018). Domain-specific anxiety relates to children’s math and spatial performance. Developmental Psychology, 54(11), 2126–2138.

Lauer, J. E., Ilksoy, S. D., & Lourenco, S. F. (2018). Developmental stability in gender-typed preferences between infancy and preschool age. Developmental Psychology, 54(4), 613–620.

Lauer, J. E., & Lourenco, S. F. (2016). Spatial processing in infancy predicts both spatial and mathematical aptitude in childhood. Psychological Science, 27(10), 1291–1298.