Hilary Richardson



I earned a BS in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences at MIT (advisor: Dr. Rebecca Saxe). I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Charles Nelson in the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School. I joined the Psychology division of the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in August 2020. 


PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience

BS in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science

Postgraduate teaching

In Fall 2020 I will teach the fNIRS module for the Specialist Techniques in Psychological Research. In Spring 2021 I will contribute to the Brain Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience course. 


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

As children get older, they acquire new facts, memories and skills, build and revise intuitive theories about people, objects, and space, and develop and foster social relationships with others. How does the brain support these remarkable achievements? My research uses a variety of methods, including child-friendly neuroimaging experiments, to address this question. In particular, I investigate the relationship between social cognitive development (i.e., how we think about people) and brain development in childhood. I ask: (1) when do we develop specialized brain regions for thinking about other people? (2) what computations do these brain regions carry out? (3) what kinds of neural changes support social cognitive development? (4) what environmental & genetic factors promote & hinder this development? My research aims to inform theories of cognitive development and address basic science questions about the human brain.

Current research interests

theory of mind; cognitive development; development of functionally specialized brain regions; role of experience in cognitive & brain development