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Joan Peskin
Associate Professor Emerita

phone: (416) 978-0948
email: j.peskin@utoronto.ca  
email: jpeskin@oise.utoronto.ca  
email: j.peskin@utoronto.ca
website: http://webspace.oise.utoronto.ca/~peskinj/

Applied Psychology and Human Development

Centre for Applied Cognitive Science

Research Overview

Joan Peskin's research interests involve a diverse range of topics with the following questions at their core: How do we represent knowledge? What is its developmental progression, and what are the social and educational implications?
One set of topics involves theory of mind, in particular, the socio-cognitive and educational implications of young children's developing ability to represent other people's mental states (i.e., beliefs, desires, emotions, intentions). She is now focusing on 5- to 8-year-olds' theory of mind in their early literacy. A critical component of literacy is the ability to take one's reader's background knowledge - or lack of knowledge - into account in one's written or dictated compositions. Peskin's lab is currently involved in examining the developing awareness of one's reader's knowledge state. It is also investigating what appears to be a powerful intervention to foster such awareness, particularly among vulnerable populations (High-functioning autism, Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD).
A second set of topics involves research on the development of poetic literacy. She has examined the developing ability to read poetry; the ways in which educators can foster metaphoric thinking; and is now investigating developing expertise in the writing of poetry (published poets versus novice poets).
Peskin's applied interests are the application of developmental psychology to education; the melding of cognitive science and literary theory, and its effect on teaching literature.

Teaching Overview

Dr. Peskin's specialty courses include:

Cognitive development and learning
Development, language and literature

Representative Publications

Peskin, J., Comay, J., Chen, X., Prusky, C., (2016). Does Theory of Mind in Pre-kindergarten Predict the Ability to Think about a Reader’s Mind in Elementary School Compositions? A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Cognition and Development, Vol. 17 (3), pp. 396-417.

Waugh, C. & Peskin, J. (2015). Improving the Social Skills of Children with HFASD: An Intervention Study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Peskin, J., Prusky, C. & Comay, J. (2014) Keeping the reader’s mind in mind: Development of perspective-taking in children’s dictations. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,  35(1), 35-43.

Bischoff, T., & Peskin, J. (2014). Do Fiction Writers have Superior Perspective Taking Ability? Scientific Study of Literature, 4(2), 2014, 125-149.

Grossman, M., Peskin, J, & San Juan, V. (2013). Thinking about a reader’s mind: Fostering communicative clarity in the compositions of youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(10),2376-2392

Peskin, J. and Wells-Jopling, R. (2012). Fostering symbolic interpretation during adolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33(1),13-23.

Peskin, J. (2011). The Social and Educational Benefits of the Scientific Study of Literature: From Picture Books to Poetry. In Hakemulder, F. (Ed.), De Stralende Lezer: Wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar de invloed van het lezen, (pp. 25-5). Delft: Eburon

Peskin, J (2010). The development of poetic literacy through the school years. Discourse Processes, 47, 77-103.

Peskin, J., Allen, G. & Wells-Jopling, R. (2010). The “Educated Imagination”: Applying instructional research to the teaching of symbolic interpretation of poetry. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 53(6), 498-507.

Mar, R. A., Peskin, J., & Fong, K. (2010). Literary Arts and the Development of the Life Story. In T. Habermas (Ed.),  The development of autobiographical reasoning in adolescence and beyond. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 131, 73-84.


Other Information

For further information on people and projects in the Peskin lab please see http://webspace.oise.utoronto.ca/~peskinj/people.html