Dr Erik Gustafsson
I studied Biology as an undergraduate at the University Paris XI (France). After obtaining my Masters of Ethology at the University Paris XIII in 2007, I did my PhD at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris (between 2007 and 2010) where I investigated the learning mechanisms underlying self-medication in apes. Before joining the University of Portsmouth, I worked for two years as a Teaching and Research assistant at the University of Jean-Monnet (Saint-Etienne, France) and for two years as a post-doc fellow at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres (Canada).
I was involved during this period in several studies investigating baby cries and the development of social cognition in infancy.
I have currently three main fields of interest:
Exploratory behaviours. Children are actively engaged in the construction of their own knowledge, then the factors influencing exploratory behaviours are important keys to understand cognitive development.
The role of habituation and perceptual expectations in bootstrapping the setting up of conceptual comprehension and complex social skills.
Finally, I have been recently involved in two projects investigating the impact of stereotypes on parenting skills. When we know the importance of stereotype threats and how personality, self-representation and task representation may greatly affect our cognitive performance, the impact of stereotypes on infants’ development appear to me as an unexplored fertile future avenue of research with potentially important applications.