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Alumni - Core Leadership Team


Postdoctoral Research Associate

Kirsten Lesage was a developmental psychologist based out of Boston University. She completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of California, Riverside in 2020. Kirsten’s research interests focused on (1) the cultural evolution of how causal explanatory systems are transmitted (vertical and oblique), such as language, testimony, social learning, and rituals, (2) the emergence of explanatory worldviews in early childhood (folk, scientific, religious, supernatural), and (3) the role of the sociocultural context in the development of religious cognition and supernatural beliefs (e.g., concepts of God, prayer, supernatural causality). Her more recent work includes a set of cross-cultural studies examining parents’ and children’s causal explanations for biological illnesses (USA, Colombia, Mauritius). From 2014 to 2022, she also worked with Dr. Rebekah Richert on a longitudinal study with examining children’s conceptions of prayer, supernatural beings, and causal mechanisms in four religious groups: Protestant Christian, Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Non-Affiliate. Personal website: www.kirstenlesage.com

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Graduate Research Associate

Kelly Cui was a graduate research associate for the Developing Belief Network based out of Boston University. She is broadly interested in how children learn from and interact with other people, and how socio-cultural context influences this process. She has done studies exploring the role of religious and cultural background on children’s understanding of reality and possibility. Personal website: www.bu.edu/wheelock/profile/kelly-yixin-cui