Katheryn Edwards

New and Converging Evidence of Two Systems for Mindreading


I started out as a renewable energy consultant in Scotland but on moving to New Zealand I turned to graphic design, as the flexibility suited the demands of raising a family. At the same time, a growing interest in psychology led to my taking a few introductory courses at Victoria University of Wellington. Little did I know that this decision would catalyse enormous changes in my life! Now I work with a supervisor at the cutting edge in his field and find support and inspiration from my talented lab colleagues. I am a constant reminder that it's never too late to front crawl to that boat you thought you'd missed (actually a bad analogy as I can't swim).


MSc. Energy Systems & Environmental Management.
BSc (1st Class Honours) Psychology.
B.A. (2nd Class Honours) Economics and Economic History.
Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology).

Research Interests

Traditional false belief tasks indicate that belief reasoning emerges from about four years of age, whilst non-verbal measures infer that infants and toddlers are sensitive to others’ false beliefs. One explanation of these contradictory findings is that infants are capable of psychological reasoning but direct verbal testing fails to reveal this due the demands placed on executive functioning. An alternative, two-systems account, suggests that infant success in spontaneous tasks is due to a low-level system, which allows efficient processing of belief-like states. Previously, the debate has focused on measuring eye-gaze in one-shot tasks. In a departure from this, I am currently working with Dr Jason Low to develop new action observation paradigms to test the extent to which adults display different profiles of reaction times for object-location and object-identity scenarios. The main thrust of my research is to provide new and converging behavioural data (using RTs and mouse-tracking analytic techniques) from adult samples to tease apart the 2-System accounts from rival accounts.


Edwards, K., Maymon, C., Peloquin, C., Sivanantham, S., & Low, J. (in press). False belief understanding: On cognitive development, cognitive competence & cognitive systems. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development.

Poulin-Dubois, P., Rakoczy, H., Burnside, K., Crivello, C., Dörrenberg, Edwards, K.,…. Ruffman, T. (2018). Do infants understand false beliefs? We don’t know yet – A commentary on Baillargeon, Buttelmann and Southgate’s commentary. Child Development, 48, 302-315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2018.09.005

Low, J., & Edwards, K. (2018). The curious case of adults’ interpretations of violation-of-expectation false belief scenarios. Cognitive Development, 46, 86-96, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2017.07.004

Edwards, K., & Low, J. (2017). Reaction time profiles of adults’ action prediction reveal two mindreading systems. Cognition160, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.12.004

Poster: “Losses Disguised as Wins in Slot Machine Gambling: The effect of framing outcomes”, Eleventh Conference of the New Zealand Association of Applied Behaviour Analysis (2014), Dunedin. Awarded the Hatchett-Bullroarer prize by Dr Brett Furlonger of Monash University.

PhD Topic

New and Converging Evidence of Two Systems for Mindreading