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I am currently a PhD student at Lancaster University, working on infants understanding and use of ostensive signals in interpreting others’ behaviour.

From 2013-2014, I worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Psychology and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, both in Leipzig, as a research assistant, supporting studies on children’s social and communicative abilities.

In 2012, I completed my Master of Science in Evolution of Language and Cognition (Linguistics) at the University of Edinburgh. In 2011, I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a Master of Arts (Social Sciences) in Psychology. In my pre-honours, I was also taking courses in Politics and Central & East European Studies, for which I have an ongoing interest.

My current research interests are:

  • children’s understanding of ostensive communication
  • cognitive prerequisites of ostensive communication
  • how interlocutors construct common ground, repair misunderstandings, and predict their partner’s utterances to create a shared situational model (e.g. Pickering & Garrod’s Interactive alignment model)
  • to what extent can we apply our understanding of culturally evolutionary processes to political systems, such as constitutions?
  • Intentionality in communication
  • Theory of Mind
  • Language acquisition
  • Language evolution
  • Embodied cognition
  • Political psychology, in particular stereotype formation and system justification

I also have an interest in epistemology and multilevel analysis.


O’Grady, C., Kliesch, C., Smith, K., & Scott-Phillips, T. C. (2015). The ease and extent of recursive mindreading, across implicit and explicit tasks. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36 (4), 313–322. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.01.004

Kliesch, C. (2012). Making sense of syntax—Innate or acquired? Contrasting Universal Grammar with other approaches to language acquisition., Journal of European Psychology Students, 3:54–60.

Conference Proceedings

Kliesch, Christian (2012). Recursive mindreading in implicit and an explicit story telling., LEL Postgraduate Conference, May 14-16, University of Edinburgh.