Prof. Gil Diesendruck

Full Professor
Diesendruck Gil
Reception hours: 


2014 - present: Full Professor, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University

2009 - 2014: Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University

2007 - 2008: Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, Yale University

2004 - 2009: Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University

1998 - 2004: Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University

1996 - 1998: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona

1991 - 1996: Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

1993 - 1996: Graduate Student, Culture and Cognition Program, University of Michigan

1987 - 1990: B.A. Cum Laude, Psychology and Economics,
Hebrew University of Jerusalem



  1. Diesendruck, G., & Shatz, M. (1997). The effect of perceptual similarity and linguistic input on children’s acquisition of object labels. Journal of Child Language, 24, 695-717.
  2. Diesendruck, G., Gelman, S. A., & Lebowitz, K. (1998). Conceptual and linguistic biases in children’s word learning. Developmental Psychology, 34, 823-839.
  3. Diesendruck, G., & Gelman, S. A. (1999). Domain differences in absolute judgments of category membership: Evidence for an essentialist account of categorization. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 6, 338-346.
  4. Gelman, S. A., & Diesendruck, G. (1999a). What’s in a concept? Context, variability, and psychological essentialism. In I. E. Sigel (Ed.), Development of mental representation: Theories and applications (pp. 87-111). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  5. Gelman, S. A., & Diesendruck, G. (1999b). A reconsideration of concepts: On the compatibility of psychological essentialism and context-sensitivity. In E. Scholnick, K. Nelson, S. A. Gelman, & P. Miller (Eds.), Conceptual development: Piaget’s legacy (pp. 79-102). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  6. Diesendruck, G., & Shatz, M. (2001). Two-year-olds’ recognition of hierarchies: Evidence from their interpretation of the semantic relation between object labels. Cognitive Development, 16, 577-594.
  7. Diesendruck, G. (2001).  Essentialism in Brazilian children’s extensions of animal names. Developmental Psychology, 37, 49-60.
  8. Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2001). Children’s avoidance of lexical overlap: A pragmatic account. Developmental Psychology, 37, 630-644.
  9. Heyman, G. D., & Diesendruck, G. (2002). The Spanish Ser/Estar distinction in children’s reasoning about human psychological characteristics. Developmental Psychology, 38, 407-417.
  10. Diesendruck, G. (2003). Categories for names or names for categories? The interplay between domain-specific conceptual structures and language. Language and Cognitive Processes, 18, 759-787.
  11. Diesendruck, G., & Bloom, P. (2003). How specific is the shape bias? Child Development, 74, 168-178.
  12. Diesendruck, G., Hammer, R., & Catz, O. (2003). Mapping the similarity space of children and adults’ artifact categories. Cognitive Development, 18, 217-231.
  13. Diesendruck, G., Markson, L., & Bloom, P. (2003). Children’s reliance on creator’s intent in extending names for artifacts. Psychological Science, 14, 164-168.
  14. Shatz, M., Diesendruck, G., Martinez, I., & Akar, D. (2003). The influence of language and socioeconomic status on children’s understanding of false beliefs. Developmental Psychology, 39, 717-729.
  15. Diesendruck, G., Markson, L., Akhtar, N., & Reudor, A. (2004). Two-year-olds’ sensitivity to speakers’ intent: An alternative account of Samuelson and Smith. Developmental Science, 7, 33-41.
  16. Diesendruck, G. (2005). “Commitment” distinguishes between Rules and Similarity: A developmental perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 21-22.
  17. Markson, L., & Diesendruck, G. (2005). Causal curiosity and the conventionality of culture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 709-709.
  18. Hammer, R., & Diesendruck, G. (2005).  The role of dimensional distinctiveness in children and adults’ artifact categorization. Psychological Science, 16, 137-144.
  19. Diesendruck, G. (2005). The principles of conventionality and contrast in word learning: An empirical examination. Developmental Psychology, 41, 451-463.
  20. Diesendruck, G., Hall, D. G., & Graham, S. (2006). Children’s use of syntactic and pragmatic knowledge in the interpretation of novel adjectives. Child Development, 77, 16-30.
  21. Diesendruck, G., & Ben-Eliyahu, A. (2006). The relationships among social cognition, peer acceptance, and social behavior in Israeli kindergarteners. International Journal for Behavioral Development, 30, 137-147.
  22. Diesendruck, G., & Shemer, G. (2006). Young children’s Expectation of Competence in word learning. Journal of Child Language, 33, 321-338.
  23. Diesendruck, G., & HaLevi, H. (2006). The role of language, appearance, and culture in children’s social category based induction. Child Development, 77, 539-553.
  24. Diesendruck, G. (2007). Mechanisms of word learning. In E. Hoff & M. Shatz (Eds.), Handbook of language development (pp. 257-276). New York: Blackwell.
  25. Dobel, C., Diesendruck, G., & Bolte, J. (2007). How writing system and age influence spatial representations of actions: A developmental, crosslinguistic study. Psychological Science, 18, 487-491.
  26. Patael, S. & Diesendruck, G. (2008). Intentions help children learn meaningful rules. Journal of Child Language, 35, 221-235.
  27. Markson, L., Diesendruck, G., & Bloom, P. (2008). The shape of thought. Developmental Science, 11, 204-208.
  28. Diesendruck, G., & Haber, L. (2009). God's categories: The effect of religiosity on children's teleological and essentialist beliefs about categories. Cognition, 110, 100-114.
  29. Hammer, R, Diesendruck, G., Hochstein, S. & Weinshall, D. (2009). The development of category learning strategies: What makes the difference? Cognition, 112, 105-119.
  30. Diesendruck, G., & Lindenbaum, T. (2009). Self-protective optimism: Children’s biased beliefs about the stability of traits. Social Development, 18, 946-961.
  31. Patael, S., & Diesendruck, G. (2009). The pragmatics of word learning. Script (in Hebrew).
  32. Diesendruck, G., Carmel, N., & Markson, L. (2010). Children's sensitivity to the conventionality of sources. Child Development, 81, 652-668.
  33. Wohlgelernter, S., Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2010). What is a conventional object function? The role of intentionality and consistency of use. Journal of Cognition and Development, 11, 269-292.
  34. Graham, S., & Diesendruck, G. (2010). Fifteen-month-old infants attend to shape over other perceptual properties in an induction task. Cognitive Development, 25, 111-123.
  35. Birnbaum, D., Deeb, I., Segal, G., Ben-Eliyahu, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2010). The development of social essentialism: The case of Israeli children's inferences about Jews and Arabs. Child Development, 81, 757-777.
  36. Diesendruck, G., & Graham, S. (2010). Kind matters: A reply to Samuelson & Perone. Cognitive Development, 25, 149-153.
  37. Martinez-Sussman, C., Akhtar, N., Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2011). Orienting to third-party conversations. Journal of Child Language, 38, 273-296.
  38. Newman, G., Diesendruck, G., & Bloom, P. (2011). Celebrity contagion and the value of objects. Journal of Consumer Research, 38, 215-228.
  39. Diesendruck, G., & Eldror, E. (2011). What children infer from social categories. Cognitive Development, 26, 118-126.
  40. Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2011). Children's assumption of the conventionality of culture. Child Development Perspectives, 5, 189-195.
  41. Lopez-Rousseau, A., Diesendruck, G., & Benozio, A. (2011). My kingdom for a horse: On incredible promises and unpersuasive warnings. Pragmatics and Cognition, 19, 399-421.
  42. Deeb, I., Segall, G., Birnbaum, D., Ben-Eliyahu, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2011). Seeing isn't believing: The effect of intergroup exposure on children's essentialist beliefs about ethnic categories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1139-1156.
  43. Diesendruck, G. (2012). The origins and scope of children's assumption of conventionality. In M. Siegal & L. Surian (Eds.), Access to language and cognitive development (pp. 116-134). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  44. Segev, M., Bergman, Y. S., & Diesendruck, G. (2012). Is religion essential? Beliefs about religious categories. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 12, 323-337.
  45. Diesendruck, G. (2013). Essentialism: The development of a simple, but potentially dangerous, idea. In M. Banaji & S. Gelman (Eds.), Navigating the social world: The early years (pp. 263-268). New York: Oxford University Press.
  46. Diesendruck, G., Birnbaum, D., Deeb, I., & Segall, G. (2013). Learning what is essential: Relative and absolute changes in children's beliefs about the heritability of ethnicity.  Journal of Cognition and Development, 14, 546-560.
  47. Diesendruck, G., Goldfein-Elbaz, R., Rhodes, M., Gelman, S. A., & Neumark, N. (2013). Cross-cultural differences in children's beliefs about the objectivity of social categories. Child Development, 84, 1906-1917.
  48. Diesendruck, G., & Peretz, S. (2013). Domain differences in the weights of perceptual and conceptual information in children's categorization. Developmental Psychology, 49, 2383-2395.
  49. Diesendruck, G., & Deblinger-Tangi, R. (2014). The linguistic construction of social categories in toddlers. Child Development, 85, 114-123.
  50. Diesendruck, G., Salzer, S., Kushnir, T., & Xu, F. (2015). When choices aren't personal: The effect of statistical and social cues on children' inferences about the scope of preferences. Journal of Cognition and Development, 16, 370-380.
  51. Diesendruck, G., & Weiss, E. (2015). Children's differential weighting of cues to social categories. Cognitive Development, 33, 56-72.
  52. Segall, G., Birnbaum, D., Deeb, I., & Diesendruck, G. (2015). The intergenerational transmission of ethnic essentialism: How parents talk counts the most. Developmental Science, 18, 543-555.
  53. Diesendruck, G., & Perez, R. (2015). Toys are me: Children's extension of the self to objects. Cognition, 134, 11-20.
  54. Benozio, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2015). Parochialism in preschoolers’ resource distribution. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36, 256-264.
  55. Weissman, O., Feldman, R., Burg-Malki, M., Geva, R., Diesendruck, G., & Gothelf, D. (2015). Mother-child interaction as a window to the unique social phenotype in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and Williams syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 2567-2577.
  56. Diesendruck, G., & Benozio, A. (2015). Prosocial behaviour towards ingroup and outgroup members. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. CEECD, SKC-ECD. 
  57. Benozio, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2015). From effort to value: Preschoolers’ alternative to effort justification. Psychological Science, 26, 1423-1429.
  58. Diesendruck, G., & Menahem, R. (2015).  Essentialism promotes children’s inter-ethnic bias. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1180.
  59. Goldvicht-Bacon, E., & Diesendruck, G. (2016). Children’s use of cultural focal points in coordination problems. Cognition, 149, 95-103
  60. Hornik, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2017). Experiences as extensions of the self: Undermining aspects of one’s sense of self impacts the desire for unique experiences. Social Cognition, 35, 181-203.
  61. Benozio, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2017). Parochial compliance: Young children’s biased consideration of authorities’ preferences regarding intergroup interactions. Child Development, 88, 1527-1535.
  62. Weissman, O., Feldman, R., Burg-Malki, M., Geva, R., Diesendruck, G., & Gothelf, D. (in press). Comparing the broad socio-cognitive profile of youth with Williams Syndrome and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
  63. Pun, A., Ferera, M., Diesendruck, G., Hamlin, J.K., & Baron, A.S. (in press). Foundations of infants’ social group evaluations. Developmental Science.
  64. Shilo, R., Weinsdoerfer, A., Rakoczy, H., & Diesendruck, G. (in press). The outgroup homogeneity effect across development: a cross-cultural investigation. Child Development.
  65. Ferera, M., Baron, A., & Diesendruck, G. (in press). Collaborative and competitive motivations uniquely impact infants’ racial categorization. Evolution and Human Behavior.




  • Social categorization in children and adults.

  • Behavioural economics in children and adults.

  • The development of Morality

  • The Acquisition of Culture




Research Achievement

Congratulations for winning a grant from the German Israeli Foundation



Israel Foundations Trustees (Ford), PI                                           

“Uncovering children’s object categories”

$ 4.525


Gonda Foundation, Co-PI                                                              

“Social competence in children with Williams and Velocardiofacial Syndromes: Behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects”

$ 20.000


Israel Science Foundation, PI                                                         

“The nature and origin of children’s beliefs about social categories”

$ 90.000


Shalem Foundation, Co-PI                                                              

“The development of social cognition in children with Williams Syndrome”

$ 27.000


Israel Science Foundation, PI                                                        

"The development of beliefs about the reality of social categories"

$ 125.000


Israel Science Foundation, PI                                                        

"Testing an affiliation hypothesis of social categorization in infants"

$ 190.000


German-Israel Foundation, Co-PI (with H. Rakoczy)                    

"A cross-cultural developmental investigation of intergroup biases in the conceptualization of others"

€ 180,000


Volkswagen Foundation, Co-PI (with H. Rakoczy)

"Ontogenetic roots and cultural foundations of dual representations of social groups"

€ 248,751