School of Psychology
University of Queensland
BSc (Flinders University)
PostGradDip - Psychology (LaTrobe University)
Post-doctoral Resarch Fellow (University of Queensland)
Member: Association for Psychological Science; Society for Research in Child Development; Australasian Human Development Association
Ad Hoc Reviewer: Animal Cognition; Australian Journal of Psychology; Autism; Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Biological Reviews; Biology Letters; British Journal of Developmental Psychology; British Journal of Psychology; Child Development; Cognition; Cognitive Development; Current Biology; Developmental Psychology; Developmental Science; Ethology; Infancy; Infant Behaviour and Development; Infant and Child Development; Interaction Studies; International Journal of Behavioral Development; International Journal of Behavioral Medicine; International Journal of Disability, Development and Education; Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology; Journal of Comparative Psychology; Journal of Experimental Child Psychology; Journal of Comparative Psychology; Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society; Psychological Bulletin; Psychological Science
Editorial Consultant: Child Development; Infant and Child Development
I am interested in a range of inter-related aspects of socio-cognitive development in young human children and nonhuman primates. At present my research is primarily focused on charting the origins and development of human cultural cognition.
Commentry in The Conversation
Imitation and imagination: child’s play is central to human success (https://theconversation.edu.au/imitation-and-imagination-childs-play-is-central-to-human-success-7555)
Fable or truth: are birds as brainy as children? (https://theconversation.edu.au/fable-or-truth-are-birds-as-brainy-as-children-8503)
Nielsen, M. (in press). Young children’s imitative and innovative behavior on the floating object task. Infant and Child Development.
Suddendorf, T., Oostenbroek, J., Nielsen, M., Slaughter, V. (in press). Is newborn imitation developmentally homologous to later social-cognitive skills? Developmental Psychobiology.
Zmyj, N., Daum, M. M., Prinz, W., Nielsen, M., Aschersleben, G. (in press). Fourteen-month-olds’ imitation of differently aged models. Infant and Child Development
Nielsen, M., Subiaul, F., Whiten, A., Galef, B., & Zentall, T. (2012). Social learning in humans and non-human animals: Theoretical and empirical dissections. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126, 109-113.
Nielsen, M., Moore, C., & Mohamedally, J. (2012). Young children overimitate in third-party contexts. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112, 73-83..
Nielsen, M. (2012). Childhood and advances in human tool use. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35, 30-31.
Nielsen, M. (2012). Imitation, pretend play and childhood: Essential elements in the evolution of human culture? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126, 170-181.
Nielsen, M., Cucchiaro, J., & Mohamedally. (2012). When the transmission of culture is child’s play. PLoS ONE, 7, e34066
Fletcher, R., & Nielsen, M. (2012). Product-based television and young children's pretend play in Australia. Journal of Children and Media, 6, 5-17.
Nielsen, M., & Blank, C. (2011). Imitation in young children: When who gets copied is more important than what gets copied. Developmental Psychology,47, 1050-1053
Suddendorf, T., Nielsen, M., & van Gehlen, R. (2011). Children’s capacity to remember a novel problem and to secure its future solution. Developmental Science,14, 26-33
Nielsen, M. & Widjojo, E. (2011). Failure to find over-imitation in captive orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus): Implications for our understanding of cross-generation information transfer. In J Håkansson (Ed.), Developmental Psychology (pp.153-167). New York NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Nielsen, M., & Tomaselli, K. (2010). Over-imitation in Kalahari Bushman children and the origins of human cultural cognition. Psychological Science,21, 729-736
Nielsen, M., & Hudry, K. (2010). Over-imitation in children with Autism and Down syndrome. Australian Journal of Psychology,62, 67-74.
Nielsen, M. (2009). The imitative behaviour of children and chimpanzees: A window on the transmission of cultural traditions.Revue de primatologie[on line], 1, document 5. URL : http://primatologie.revues.org/254
Nielsen, M. (2009). 12-month-olds produce others’ intended but unfulfilled acts. Infancy,14, 377-389.
Carpenter, M. & Nielsen, M. (2008). Tools, TV and trust: Introduction to the special issue on imitation in typically developing children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,101, 225-227.
Nielsen, M., & Carpenter, M. (2008). Reflecting on imitation in autism. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,101, 165-169.
Nielsen, M., Simcock, G., & Jenkins, L. (2008). The effect of social engagement on 24-month-olds’ imitation from live and televised models. Developmental Science,11, 722-731.
Nielsen, M., & Christie, T. (2008). Adult modelling facilitates young children’s generation of novel pretend acts. Infant and Child Development,17, 151-162.
Nielsen, M. (2008). The social motivation for social learning. Behavioral and Brain Sciences,31, 33.
Slaughter, V., Nielsen, M., & Enchelmaier, P. (2008). Interacting socially with human hands at 24 months of age. Infancy,13, 185-195.
Suddendorf, T., Simcock, G., & Nielsen, M. (2007). Visual self-recognition in mirrors and live videos: Evidence for a developmental asynchrony. Cognitive Development,22, 185-196.
Nielsen M., & Slaughter, V. (2007). Multiple motivations for imitation in infancy. In K. Dautenhahn & C. L. Nehaniv (Eds.), Imitation and Social Learning in Robots, Humans and Animals: Behavioural, Social and Communicative Dimensions (pp. 343-360). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nielsen, M. (2006). Copying actions and copying outcomes: Social learning through the second year. Developmental Psychology,42, 555-565.
Nielsen, M., Suddendorf, T., & Slaughter, V. (2006). Mirror self-recognition beyond the face. Child Development,77, 176-185
Collier-Baker, E., Davis, J. M., Nielsen, M., & Suddendorf, T. (2006). Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) understand single invisible displacement? Animal Cognition,9, 55-61.
Randell, A., & Nielsen, M. (2006). Children’s communication of pretend acts using social cues. In M. A. Vanchevsky (Ed.), Frontiers in Cognitive Psychology (pp. 127-143). New York NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Nielsen, M., Suddendorf, T., & Dissanayake, C. (2006). Imitation and self-recognition in autism: In search of an explanation. In S. J. Rogers & J. H. G. Williams (Eds.),Imitation and the social mind: Autism and typical development (pp. 138-156). New York NY: Guilford Press.
Nielsen, M., Collier-Baker, E., Davis, J. M., & Suddendorf, T. (2005) Imitation recognition in a captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Animal Cognition,8, 31-36.
Nielsen, M., & Dissanayake, C. (2004). Imitation, pretend play and mirror self-recognition: A longitudinal investigation through the second year. Infant Behavior and Development, 27, 342-365.
Nielsen, M., & Dissanayake, C. (2003). A longitudinal study of immediate, deferred, and synchronic imitation through the second year. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour,1, 305-318.
Nielsen, M., Dissanayake, C. A. & Kashima, Y. (2003). A longitudinal investigation of self-other discrimination and the emergence of mirror self-recognition. Infant Behavior and Development,26, 213-226.
Nielsen, M., & Dissanayake, C. A. (2003). Synchronic imitation as pre-linguistic social interaction. In K. Dautenhan and C. L. Nehaniv (Eds.) Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Imitation in Animals and Artifacts (pp. 131-137). Wales, UK: The Society of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour.
Nielsen, M., & Dissanayake, C. (2001). A study of pretend play and false belief in pre-school children: Is all pretence metarepresentational? In S. Reifel (Ed.) Theory in context and out (pp. 199-215). Westport CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Nielsen, M., & Dissanayake, C. (2000). An investigation of pretend play, mental state terms, and false belief understanding: In search of a metarepresentational link. British Journal of Developmental Psychology,18, 609-624.
Nielsen, M., & Day, R. H. (1999). William James and the evolution of consciousness. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 19, 90-113
Note: Coordinator roles prior to 2009 and tutor roles prior to 2006 are not included.
Students who work with me undertake projects that typically focus on the development of social-cognitive skills with a broad view on their possible role in young children’s attainment and transmission of culturally bound behaviours.
Some possible projects for 2013 include (but are not limited to):
I am also interested in the impact media exposure has on young children, and in particular the effect and influence of product-based TV programming (e.g., Ben 10; Transformers; Lego Ninjago).
Some possible projects for 2013 include (but are not limited to):