One of the most unique qualities of humans is our ability to acquire knowledge via testimony—i.e., information shared by others. My research focuses on how testimony shapes children's social learning across cultures, particularly in a domain where its significance has not traditionally been recognized: the moral domain. The overarching goal of my research program is to understand the distinctive ways in which children balance self-reliance and dependence on others in moral learning. Demonstrating testimony’s influence also gives rise to questions about social cognitive and cultural factors that can make children either too resistant, or too credulous of others’ claims. My work also uncovers the important mechanisms that underlie testimony’s influence; and investigates how testimony can potentially lead to biased or unjust outcomes.

Starting Fall 2025, I'll be an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I'll be recruiting at all levels over the coming years. If you're interested in getting involved, please contact me to find out more.

About Me

Pearl Han Li


I am an incoming Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I am currently working as a Post-doctoral Associate with Dr. Tamar Kushnir and Dr. Michael Tomasello at Duke University. For the 2024-2025 academic year, I will move to University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Anna Julia Cooper Fellow.

I received my Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from  Institute of Child Development (ICD), University of Minnesota, where I studied social cognitive development under the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Koenig. My research program focuses on children’s moral development and social learning across cultures and in diverse social contexts. 

I was born and raised in mainland China, and received my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communications from Peking University. In college, I got interested topics related to whether children and adults are susceptible to misinformation. This led me to pursue a Ed.M at Harvard Graduate School of Education where I worked with Dr. Paul L.Harris. 

As someone who comes from a non-traditional background, I am deeply committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in academia. My goal is to cultivate an environment where every student feels valued, supported, and empowered to explore their academic and professional interests.