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Carla Martins
Office: 1023
Phone: +351 253 604 256


The main goal of our research team is to investigate the development of social cognition during the first years of life, with a special focus on joint attention in infancy, and the evolution of mentalizing capacities leading to the emergency of the Theory of Mind at the end of preschool years. To fully understand how children become proficient in socio-cognitive skills – joint attention, collaborative symbolic play, and theory of mind –, it is vital to look for the specific influence of the quality of the relationship and interaction between the infant/child and his/her mother and father. Our main premise is that these capabilities represent outcomes of a developmental history embedded in a relational matrix, with the infant/child acquiring these abilities related to the self and others through socio-emotional experiences in close relationships.

Moreover, we aim at exploring the links between the interaction of socio-cognitive and socio-emotional development during preschool years, and school readiness prior to children’s enrollment at the 1st grade.

Research Projects

2011 – 2014 – Children’s socio-emotional-cognitive school readiness: A longitudinal approach to its developmental course during preschool years (PTDC/PSI-EDD/114527/2009)

2004 – 2011 – Ecological approach to the socio-cognitive and socio-emotional development from infancy through preschool age: Contribution of Variables of the Children, Parents and Context