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Rebecca Peretz-Lange

Assistant Professor of Psychology

My research integrates developmental, cognitive, and social psychology to study how children make conceptual sense of the social world. I direct the Conceptual Development in Society Lab where my students and I investigate how children intuitively explain social inequalities and identities. I am particularly interested in how this early reasoning contributes to prejudice development, and have found promising evidence that intervening on this reasoning can mitigate prejudice at its roots.

More About Me

Prior to joining Purchase, I held postdoctoral positions at Boston University and Harvard University. I received my PhD in Psychology from Tufts University in 2020, and my BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Wesleyan University in 2013.

Representative Courses

  • Child Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Origins of Prejudice
  • Applying Cognitive Science to Education
  • Research Methods 1: Statistics & Design


Peretz-Lange, R., Pitt, E., & Coley, J. (2023). Education in the social sciences impacts essentialist conceptions of racial disparities. Cognitive Science. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange., R. & Kibbe, M. M. (2023). “Shape bias” goes social: Children categorize people by weight rather than race. Developmental Science, e13454. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R., Harvey, T., & Blake, P. (2022). From “haves” to “have nots”: Developmental declines in subjective social status reflect children’s growing consideration of what they do not have. Cognition, 223, 105027. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R., Harvey, T., & Blake, P. (2022). Socioeconomic status predicts children’s moral judgments of novel resource distributions. Developmental Science, 25(4), e13230. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R. (2021). Why does social essentialism sometimes promote, and other times mitigate, prejudice development? A causal discounting perspective. Cognitive Development, 59, 101085. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R. & Muentener, P. (2021). Verbally highlighting extrinsic causes of novel social disparities helps children view low-status groups as structurally disadvantaged rather than personally inferior. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R., Perry, J., & Muentener, P. (2021). Developmental shifts toward structural explanations and interventions for social status disparities. Cognitive Development, 58, 101042. [PDF]

Carvalho, K.*, Peretz-Lange, R.*, Muentener, P. (2021). Causal explanations for weight influence children’s social preferences. Child Development, 92(2), 682-690. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R. & Muentener, P. (2020). Children’s use of generic labels, discreteness, and stability to form a novel category. Journal of Cognition and Development, 21(3), 447-475. [PDF]

Peretz-Lange, R. & Muentener, P. (2019). Verbal framing and statistical patterns influence children’s attributions to situational, but not personal, causes for behavior. Cognitive Development, 50, 205-221. [PDF]