Prof. Gil Diesendruck

Full Professor
Diesendruck Gil
Reception hours: 


2009 - present: 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



Journal articles


  1. Diesendruck, G., & Shatz, M. (1997). The effect of perceptual similarity and linguistic input on children’s acquisition of object labels. Journal of Child Language24, 695-717.
  2. Diesendruck, G., Gelman, S. A., & Lebowitz, K. (1998). Conceptual and linguistic biases in children’s word learning. Developmental Psychology34, 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 Review6, 338-346.
  4. Diesendruck, G., & Shatz, M. (2001). Two-year-olds’ recognition of hierarchies: Evidence from their interpretation of the semantic relation between object labels. Cognitive Development16, 577-594.
  5. Diesendruck, G. (2001).  Essentialism in Brazilian children’s extensions of animal names. Developmental Psychology37, 49-60.
  6. Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2001). Children’s avoidance of lexical overlap: A pragmatic account. Developmental Psychology37, 630-644.
  7. Heyman, G. D., & Diesendruck, G. (2002). The Spanish Ser/Estar distinction in children’s reasoning about human psychological characteristics. Developmental Psychology38, 407-417.
  8. 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.
  9. Diesendruck, G., & Bloom, P. (2003). How specific is the shape bias? Child Development, 74, 168-178.
  10. Diesendruck, G., Hammer, R., & Catz, O. (2003). Mapping the similarity space of children and adults’ artifact categories. Cognitive Development, 18, 217-231.
  11. Diesendruck, G., Markson, L., & Bloom, P. (2003). Children’s reliance on creator’s intent in extending names for artifacts. Psychological Science, 14, 164-168.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Diesendruck, G. (2005). “Commitment” distinguishes between Rules and Similarity: A developmental perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 21-22.
  15. Markson, L., & Diesendruck, G. (2005). Causal curiosity and the conventionality of culture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 709-709.
  16. Hammer, R., & Diesendruck, G. (2005).  The role of dimensional distinctiveness in children and adults’ artifact categorization. Psychological Science, 16, 137-144.
  17. Diesendruck, G. (2005). The principles of conventionality and contrast in word learning: An empirical examination. Developmental Psychology, 41, 451-463.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Diesendruck, G., & Shemer, G. (2006). Young children’s Expectation of Competence in word learning. Journal of Child Language, 33, 321-338.
  21. Diesendruck, G., & HaLevi, H. (2006). The role of language, appearance, and culture in children’s social category based induction. Child Development, 77, 539-553.
  22. 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.
  23. Patael, S. & Diesendruck, G. (2008). Intentions help children learn meaningful rules. Journal of Child Language, 35, 221-235.
  24. Markson, L., Diesendruck, G., & Bloom, P. (2008). The shape of thought. Developmental Science, 11, 204-208.
  25. Patael, S., & Diesendruck, G. (2009). The pragmatics of word learning. Script (in Hebrew).
  26. Diesendruck, G., & Haber, L. (2009). God's categories: The effect of religiosity on children's teleological and essentialist beliefs about categories. Cognition110, 100-114.
  27. Hammer, R, Diesendruck, G., Hochstein, S. & Weinshall, D. (2009). The development of category learning strategies: What makes the difference? Cognition, 112, 105-119.
  28. Diesendruck, G., & Lindenbaum, T. (2009). Self-protective optimism: Children’s biased beliefs about the stability of traits. Social Development18, 946-961.
  29. Diesendruck, G., Carmel, N., & Markson, L. (2010). Children's sensitivity to the conventionality of sources. Child Development81, 652-668.
  30. 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 Development11, 269-292.
  31. 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.
  32. 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 Development81, 757-777.
  33. Diesendruck, G., & Graham, S. (2010). Kind matters: A reply to Samuelson & Perone. Cognitive Development25, 149-153.
  34. Martinez-Sussman, C., Akhtar, N., Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2011). Orienting to third-party conversations. Journal of Child Language38, 273-296.
  35. Newman, G., Diesendruck, G., & Bloom, P. (2011). Celebrity contagion and the value of objects. Journal of Consumer Research38, 215-228.
  36. Diesendruck, G., & Eldror, E. (2011). What children infer from social categories. Cognitive Development26, 118-126.
  37. Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2011). Children's assumption of the conventionality of culture. Child Development Perspectives5, 189-195.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Segev, M., Bergman, Y. S., & Diesendruck, G. (2012). Is religion essential? Beliefs about religious categories. Journal of Cognition and Culture12, 323-337.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Diesendruck, G., & Peretz, S. (2013). Domain differences in the weights of perceptual and conceptual information in children's categorization. Developmental Psychology49, 2383-2395.
  44. Diesendruck, G., & Deblinger-Tangi, R. (2014). The linguistic construction of social categories in toddlers. Child Development, 85, 114-123.
  45. Diesendruck, G., Salzer, S., Kushnir, T., & Xu, F. (in press). 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.
  46. Diesendruck, G., & Weiss, E. (in press). Children's differential weighting of cues to social categories. Cognitive Development.
  47. Segall, G., Birnbaum, D., Deeb, I., & Diesendruck, G. (in press). The intergenerational transmission of ethnic essentialism: How parents talk counts the most. Developmental Science.
  48. Diesendruck, G., & Perez, R. (in press). Toys are me: Children's extension of the self to objects. Cognition.

Book chapters

Diesendruck, G. (in press). Essentialism: The development of a simple, but potentially dangerous, idea. In M. Banaji & S. Gelman (Eds.), Navigating the social world: The early years. New York: Oxford University Press.

Diesendruck, G. (in press). The pragmatics of disambiguation. In T. Matsui (Ed.), Pragmatics and theory of mind. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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.

Diesendruck, G. (2007). Mechanisms of word learning. In E. Hoff & M. Shatz (Eds.), Handbook of language development (pp. 257-276). New York: Blackwell.

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.

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.





  • Social categorisation 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); Sole P.I., “Uncovering children’s object categories”.  [$ 4,525]



Gonda Foundation; Co-PI, (Co-PIs: Dr. Ronny Geva, Prof. Ruth Feldman, Dr. Doron Gothelf, & Dr. Miri Keren) “Social competence in children with Williams and Velocardiofacial Syndromes: Behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects”. [$20,000]



Israel Science Foundation; Sole PI, “The nature and origin of children’s beliefs about social categories”. [$90,000]



Shalem Foundation; Co-PI, (Co-PIs: Dr. Ronny Geva, Prof. Ruth Feldman, & Dr. Doron Gothelf) “The development of social cognition in children with Williams Syndrome.” [$27,000]



Israel Science Foundation; Sole PI, "The development of beliefs about the reality of social categories". [$125,000]




Israel Science Foundation; Sole PI, "Testing an affiliation hypothesis of social categorization in infants". [$190,000]