Victoria Helen Southgate

Victoria Helen Southgate


Research fields

  • Action processing
  • Imitation and mimicry
  • Theory of mind
  • Motivation and learning
  • Group cognition


Research: brief description

I am a developmental social cognitive neuroscientist studying the ontogeny and development of human social cognition with a particular interest in the kind of skills that enable infants to learn from others. I use both behavioural (looking-time, eye-tracking) and neuroimaging (EEG, fNIRS, EMG) methods to ask what cognitive and neural mechanisms support infants’ early social cognitive abilities. 

I am PI at the Centre for Early Childhood Cognition.


Current research projects

  • Neural mechanisms supporting early mentalizing abilities (funded by the ERC)
  • Investigating the development of mimicry (with Antonia Hamilton, Carina de Klerk and Chiara Bulgarelli, supported by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust)
  • Motivation and information seeking in infancy (with Teodora Gliga and Katarina Begus)



European Research Council

Carlsberg Foundation, Denmark

Leverhulme Trust

British Academy

Wellcome Trust


Recent publications

de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Bulgarelli, C., Hamilton, A.H., & Southgate, V. (in press). Selective facial mimicry of native over foreign speakers in preverbal infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Lamy-Yang, I., & Southgate, V. (2018). The role of sensorimotor experience in the development of mimicry. Developmental Science

Baillargeon, R., Buttelmann, D., & Southgate, V. (2018). Interpreting Failed Replications of Early False-Belief Findings: Methodological and Theoretical Considerations. Cognitive Development.

de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Hamilton, A.F.C., & Southgate, V. (2018). Eye contact modulates facial mimicry in 4-month-old infants: an EMG and fNIRS study. Cortex.

Bulgarelli, C., Blasi, A., Arridge, S., Powell, S., de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Southgate, V., Brigadoi, S., Penny, W., Tak, S., & Hamilton, A. (2018). Dynamic causal modelling on infant fNIRS data: A validation study on a simultaneously recorded fNIRS-fMRI dataset. Neuroimage, 175, 413-424.

Begus, K., & Southgate, V. (2018). Information seeking in infancy. In Language and Concept Development from Infancy Through Childhood: Social Motivation, Cognition, and Linguistic Mechanisms of Learning (Eds. P. Ganea & M. Saylor). Springer.

Begus, K., Gliga, T., & Southgate, V. (2016). Infants’ preferences for native speakers are associated with an expectation of information. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (44), 12397-12494.

ID: 141784276