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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. I am supervised by Eugenio Parise and Vincent Reid. My PhD is funded by Lancaster University and The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (Lucid). During my final year of my PhD, I visited Stephanie Hoehl’s Early Social Cognition research group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, where I’m currently working as a research assistant alongside my PhD.

I have a keen interest in open science and advanced statistical models, in particular mixed effects models and using Bayes Factors in EEG analyses.

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 from a developmental and evolutionary perspective.
  • 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, C., Reid, V. M., Theakston, A. L., Parise, E. Anticipation of familiar, unexpected and novel actions in ostensive and non-ostensive contexts in 7-month-old infants [Poster], Lancaster Conference on Infant and Child Development, August 22– 25, 2017, Lancaster (UK)

Kliesch, C., Reid, V. M., Theakston, A. L., Parise, E. (2016) Ostensive Communication and Teleological Understanding of Actions in 7 and 9-Month Old Infants [Poster]. Lancaster Conference on Infant and Child Development, August 25– 27, 2016, Lancaster (UK).

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