Stephen Ferrigno

Credentials: (he/him)

Position title: Assistant Professor


523 Psychology

Research Area(s)
Biology of Brain and Behavior
Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Lab Website
Cognitive Origins Lab

Research Interests
What makes human thinking unique? And how do we develop these uniquely human aspects of our cognition? To understand where the human mind comes from, we need to understand what primitive mechanisms humans are endowed with, how we acquire new knowledge, and how these interact. My research program focuses on the nexus of these factors. I use developmental and comparative methods to catalogue the early developmental and evolutionary foundations of thought and investigate how these foundations are transcended by humans. I also use cross-cultural methods to characterize the end states of these abilities (which vary drastically by culture) and determine how culture shapes our development. Currently I focus on number cognition, grammar/recursion, logical reasoning, and metacognition. One of the goals of my work is to help inform early math and language curricula and develop targeted interventions that could be implemented in preschools and head-start programs here in Wisconsin and across the country.

Representative Publications
Pitt, B., Ferrigno, S., Cantlon, J. F., Casasanto, D., Gibson, E., Piantadosi, S. T. (2021). Spatial concepts of number, size, and time in an indigenous culture. Science Advances.

Ferrigno, S., Huang, Y., Cantlon, J. F. (2021). Reasoning through the disjunctive syllogism in monkeys. Psychological Science.

Ferrigno, S., Cheyette, S. J., Piantadosi, S. T., Cantlon, J. F. (2020). Recursive sequence generation in monkeys, children, US adults, and native Amazonians. Science Advances.

Ferrigno, S., Bueno, G. Cantlon, J. F. (2019). A similar basis for judging confidence in monkeys and humans. Animal Behavior and Cognition.

Ferrigno, S., Kornell, N., Cantlon, J. F. (2017). A metacognitive illusion in monkeys. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 10.1098/rspb.2017.1541.

Ferrigno, S., Jara-Ettinger, J., Piantadosi, S. T., Cantlon, J. F. (2017). Universal and uniquely human factors in spontaneous numerical perception. Nature Communications.

Ferrigno, S., Hughes, K. D., & Cantlon, J. F. (2015). Precocious quantitative cognition in monkeys. Psych. Bulletin & Review. 23(1), 141-147.