Psychology Seminar Series: The ontogeny of multilingual communication by Moritz M. Daum

Much of our daily life is dedicated to verbal and nonverbal interaction with others. Adequate communication skills allow a better prediction of others’ behaviour, resulting in smooth and continuous interaction.

In the present talk, I will present recent empirical evidence from our research concerning whether and how the language status of children influences social cognitive skills, that is, between children growing up either in a monolingual or a multilingual environment. I will then discuss the evidence from the perspective of a theoretical framework about how potential differences depend on language combinations, cultural influences, and children's particular experiences in everyday interactions.

Moritz Daum studied psychology at the University of Zurich. After completing his doctorate at the University of Zurich, he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Munich and Leipzig. There, he headed the research group “Infant Cognition and Action”. In 2011, he completed his Habilitation at the University of Leipzig. He has been Professor of Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood at the Department of Psychology since August 2012 and Director of the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development at the University of Zurich since 2021. His research focuses on social-cognitive development in childhood and across the lifespan, with a particular emphasis on the development of children in a multilingual language environment. Together with his team, he uses scientific methods to find answers to how people become social actors who act in a social environment and interact with it in various ways (