Carolyn Baer, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow | University of British Columbia and Kwantlen Polytechnic University
I am a psychologist studying how human minds make sense of uncertain input.
We get information about the world from a variety of imperfect sources: the sensory experience of hearing a muffled voice, memories that feel like dreams, or testimony from our peers. My research investigates how we navigate these uncertain inputs by turning uncertainty into an informative signal.
I study the cognitive and social tools that humans leverage to learn about the world, focusing on childhood. My work uses behavioural experiments and individual differences, combining methods and theoretical approaches from psychophysics, linguistics, and computational cognitive science.
In my main line of work, I study metacognitive reasoning about confidence: the way we signal to ourselves that something seems trustworthy. Here's an article I wrote about how confidence impacts learning, and here's a shorter blog post on the same topic. I also have a line of research on children's social reasoning, including how children learn to collaborate with others.
I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I recently completed a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and I completed my PhD at the University of British Columbia. Here's a precis of my dissertation. I also hold an MASc and a BA from the University of Waterloo.
I also work with businesses and organizations by contributing scientific insights about child development, learning, and research design. I am passionate about working with clients using science-based practices and cutting-edge research findings. Please email me for more information.
Children are sensitive to subtle changes in their confidence, and this develops independently of related abilities.
Can children accurately evaluate their own confidence?
Children easily compared confidence states from independent perceptual processes.
Is there a single confidence 'muscle'?
Individual differences in confidence reasoning correlated across independent perceptual domains.
Journal of Numerical Cognition
Having a fine-tuned sense of confidence isn't linked to math skills.
How does reasoning about confidence help us learn?
Metacognition and Learning
Children reason about their own confidence differently than they reason about others' confidence.
Children tailor their teaching to the knowledge of their learner.
How do children learn to work with others?
Children strategically divide tasks between team members by aligning skill and difficulty.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Children interpreted information presented in pretense as generally true in the real world.
What function does pretense play in childhood?
Copies of papers are provided for the timely dissemination of findings and remain under the copyright of the respective publishers.
Dramkin, D., Bonn, C.D., Baer, C., & Odic, D. (2022). The malleable role of non-numeric features in visual number perception. Acta Psychologica, 230, 103737. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2022.103737 [Article] [Stimuli & Data] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Kidd, C. (2022). Learning with Certainty in Childhood.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26, 887-896. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2022.07.010 [Article] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Odic, D. (2022). Mini Managers: Children strategically divide cognitive labor among collaborators, but have a self-serving bias. Child Development, 93, 437-450. doi:10.1111/cdev.13692 [Article] [Supplementary Materials] [Stimuli & Data] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C., Ghetti, S., Odic, D. (2021). Perceptual and memory metacognition in children. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Vienna, Austria. [Article]
Baer, C., Malik, P.*, & Odic, D. (2021). Are Children’s Judgments of Another’s Accuracy Linked to Their Metacognitive Confidence Judgments? Metacognition and Learning, 16, 485-516. doi:10.1007/s11409-021-09263-x [Article] [Supplementary Materials] [Stimuli & Data] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Odic, D. (2020). Children flexibly compare their perceptual certainty within and across perceptual domains. Developmental Psychology, 56, 2095-2101. doi:10.1037/dev0001100 [Article] [Supplementary Materials] [Preregistration] [Stimuli & Data] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Odic, D. (2020). The relationship between children’s approximate number confidence and mathematics. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 6, 50-65. doi:10.5964/jnc.v6i1.220 [Article] [Stimuli & Data] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Odic, D. (2019). Certainty in numerical judgments develops independently of the Approximate Number System. Cognitive Development, 52, 00817. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2019.100817 [Article] [Stimuli] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C., Gill, I.K.*, & Odic, D. (2018). A domain-general sense of confidence in children. Open Mind: Discoveries in Cognitive Science, 2, 208-218. doi:10.1162/opmi_a_00020 [Article] [Supplementary Materials] [Stimuli] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Friedman, O. (2018). Fitting the message to the listener: Children selectively mention general and specific information. Child Development, 89, 461-475. doi:10.1111/cdev.12751 [Article] [Supplementary Materials] [Link to Journal]
Baer, C. & Friedman, O. (2016). Children's generic interpretation of pretense. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 150, 99-111. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2016.05.004 [Article] [Supplementary Materials] [Link to Journal]