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Patricia Ganea
Associate Professor

phone: (416) 934-4502
email: patricia.ganea@utoronto.ca  
website: http://www.languageandlearninglab.com/

Department: Applied Psychology and Human Development



Research Overview

Dr. Ganea's primary research area is early cognitive development. She investigates the processes involved in young children's learning about the world through symbolic means, such as language, pictures, videos, and replica objects. She is especially interested in children's use of language to think and communicate about what is perceptually not present. Developing the ability to communicate about absent objects and events is a major cognitive achievement, one that enables children to learn about the world indirectly. Her research is focusing on the social, linguistic and representational factors that influence children's learning about the world. She is also interested in how children develop an understanding of the pragmatics of language and of social cognition.

In applied practice, Dr. Ganea is interested in the application of developmental research to early childhood education.

Reseach Projects/Activities:

Understanding of displaced speech
Pragmatics and social cognition
Updating of mental representations via language
Learning and transfer from picture books
Science learning in young children
Children's counterfactual reasoning

Representative Publications

Nyhout, A., Henke, L., Ganea, P.A. (2017). Children’s counterfactual reasoning about causally over determined events. Child Development, DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12913

Larsen, N.E., Lee, K. & Ganea, P.A. (2017). Do storybooks with anthropomorphized animal characters promote prosocial behaviours in young children? Developmental Science, https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12590

Strouse, G. A., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). Parent-toddler behavior and language differ when reading electronic and print picture books. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:677. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00677

Strouse, G. A., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). A print book preference: Caregivers report higher child enjoyment and more adult-child interactions when reading print than electronic booksInternational Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 12, 8-15.

Strouse, G. A., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). Toddlers’ word learning and transfer from electronic and print booksJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 156, 129-142

Osina, M., Saylor, M., & Ganea, P. A. (2016). Out of reach, out of mind? Infants’ comprehension of references to hidden inaccessible objects. Child Development. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12656

Saylor, M. M., Osina, M., Tassin, T., Rose, R., & Ganea, P. A. (2016). Creature feature: preschoolers use verbal descriptions to identify referents.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2016.07.005

Strouse, G. A., & Ganea, P. A. (2016) Are prompts provided by electronic books as effective for teaching preschoolers a biological concept as those provided by adults? Early Education and Development, 8, 1190-1204. Special Issue: Young Children’s Developing Understanding of the Biological World. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2016.1210457

Ganea, P. A., Fitch, A., Harris, P. L., & Kaldy, Z. (2016). Sixteen-month-olds can use language to update their expectations about the visual worldJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 151, 65-76.

Galazka, M. A., Gredebäck, G., & Ganea, P. A. (2016). Mapping language to the mind: Toddlers’ online processing of language as a reflection of speaker’s knowledge and ignoranceCognitive Development40, 1-8.

Keates, J., Graham, S., & Ganea, P. A. (2014). Infants transfer nonobvious properties from pictures to real-world objectsJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 125, 35-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2014.02.003

Ganea P.A., Canfield, C.F., Simons-Ghafari, K., & Chou, T. (2014). Do cavies talk?: The effect of anthropomorphic books on children’s knowledge about animalsFront. Psychol. 5:283. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00283

Canfield, C.F. & Ganea, P. A. (2014). ‘You could call it magic’: What parents and siblings tell preschoolers about unobservable entitiesJournal of Cognition and Development, 5(2)269-286. DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2013.777841

Galazka, M.A., & Ganea, P. A. (2014). The role of representational strength in verbal updating: Evidence from 19- and 24-month-oldsJournal of Experimental Child Psychology121, 156-168

Kelemen, D., Emmons, N.A., Seston Schillaci, R., & Ganea, P.A. (2014). Young children can be taught basic natural selection using a picture-storybook interventionPsychological Science. doi:10.1177/0956797613516009

Khu, M., Graham, S.A., & Ganea, P.A., (2014). Learning from picture books: Infants’ use of naming informationFrontiers in Psychology, 5:144.doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00144

Canfield, C. F., Saudino, K. J., & Ganea, P. A. (2014). The role of temperament in children’s reliance on others as sources of informationInfant and Child Development. DOI: 10.1002/icd.1892

Walker, C., Gopnik, A., & Ganea, P. A. (2014). Learning to learn from stories: children’s developing sensitivity to the causal structure of fictional worlds. Child Development, 00(0)1-9. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12287

Ganea, P. A. & Saylor, M. M. (2013). Representational constraints on language development: Thinking and learning about absent thingsChild Development Perspectives. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12045

Osina, M. A., Saylor, M. M. and Ganea, P. A. (2013), Object locations, identity and absent reference understanding at 12 Months.  Infancy, 19(1), 65-81. doi:10.1111/infa.12031

Ganea, P. A. & Saylor M. M. (2013). Talking about the near and dear: Infants’ comprehension of displaced speechDevelopmental Psychology, 49, 1299-1307

Osina, M.A., Saylor, M.M., & Ganea, P. A. (2013). When familiar is not better: 12-month-old infants respond to talk about absent objectsDevelopmental Psychology, 49, 138-145

Research Grants and Contracts

2017-2021 Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Grant, Correcting children's science
misconceptions. $222,480.00

2016-2020 Principal Investigator, NSERC Discovery Grant, The influence of fantastical discourse context on young children's on-line sentence comprehension. $155,000.00




Honours and Awards

Editor Choice Award, Journal of Cognition and Development, October 2015

Dean's Excellence Award, September 2015

Early Researcher Award, "From Child to Scientist": Using symbolic media to promote science education in young children. Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI), March 2014 - February 2019, ($150,000.00)

Connaught New Researcher Award, University of Toronto, May 1, 2013- May 1, 2015 ($9,800.00)



Professional Activities

Elected Board of Directors Member:

Journal of Cognition and Development (2012 - 2015)

Associate Editor:

British Journal of Developmental Psychology (2008 - 2013)

Developmental Science (2015 - present)

Editorial Board Member:

Journal of Cognition and Development (2012 - present)

British Journal of Developmental Psychology (2014 - present)