Oláh Kata


Dr. Oláh Kata
Researcher, Adjunct Professor

My research focuses on the question of how young children process information about their social environment, and how their development is aided by both the direct and wider social environment. More specifically, our experiments focus primarily on answering the following questions: When do children understand that human societies are organized into groups, and that the behavior of members in each group can be governed by different norms? How do children acquire information from others, and to what extent are learning processes influenced by different characteristics of the teacher? How do children understand that others may have information and beliefs different from their own, and that the other’s behavior should be interpreted in light of this?


(36-1) 461-2600/5610



MTMT database


Courses, Thesis topics



Cognitive Psychology 2. (PSBY19-112)

Research field practice in Cognitive/Affective Psychology (PSYB19-115)

Research field practice in Developmental Psychology (PSYB19-114)

Social Cognition (Szociális kogníció és tudat, PSZM17-KF-105)

Introduction to Cognitive Psychology for Linguists (Universität Wien)

Thesis topics:

As field practice or dissertation work, it is possible to join in research examining social cognition. We focus on the following topics in research on both children and adults: social categorization, social learning, theory of mind, and the relationship between these processes. It is primarily possible to engage in behavioral studies (for example, imitation in children, simple choice situations, eye-tracking analysis, reaction time measurement, memory tasks).



In preparation:

Elek, L., Király I., Szűcs R., Oláh K., & Elekes F. Linguistic but not minimal group membership modulates spontaneous level-2 perspective interference in 8-year-old children. OSF https://osf.io/7qtjs/

Oláh, K., Király, I.  (in press). Can group representations based on relational cues warrant the rich inferences typically drawn from group membership? A Commentary on ‘Towards a computational theory of social groups: A finite set of cognitive primitives for representing any and all social groups in the context of conflict’. Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Oláh K., Elekes F., Király I.: Creating a shared representational space. PsycArXiv: 10.31234/osf.io/g2z74


Bródy, G., Oláh, K., Király, I., Biró S (2022). Individuation of Agents Based on their Psychological Properties in 10-month-old Infants. Infancy, https://doi.org/10.1111/infa.12472

Oláh, K., Király, I. (2022). Representing Social Categories Based on Shared Cultural Knowledge in Adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2022 Feb 25;17470218221079206. doi: 10.1177/17470218221079206.


Kiss, O., Oláh, K., Fehér, L. J., & Topál, J. (2021). Social categorization based on permanent versus transient visual traits in neurotypical children and children with autism spectrum disorder. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-12.

Petõ, R., Oláh, K., & Király, I. (2021). Two-Year-Old Children Expect Native, but Not Foreign Speakers to Use the Same Tool for the Same Purpose. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.


Király, I., & Oláh, K. (2020). Action selection in imitation: why do we still need the teleological stance? Commentary on ‘The teleological stance: Past, present, and future’by Juvrud and Gredeback. Developmental Science, e12972-e12972.

Pető, R., Elekes, F., Oláh, K. & Király, I. (2020). Apró lépésekkel egy empatikus multikulturális világ felé a szociális kategorizáció társas tanulásban játszott kiemelkedő szerepe révén. Psychiatria Hungarica


Oláh, K., & Király, I. (2019). Young Children Selectively Imitate Models Conforming to Social Norms. Frontiers in psychology, 10.

Gergely, A., Petró, E., Oláh, K., & Topál, J. (2019). Auditory–Visual Matching of Conspecifics and Non-Conspecifics by Dogs and Human Infants. Animals, 9(1), 17.


Galambos, Á., Turcsán, B., Oláh, K., Elekes, F., Gergely, A., Király, I., & Topal, J. (2018). Visual fixation patterns during viewing of half-face stimuli in adults: an eye-tracking study. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2478.

Király, I., Oláh, K., Csibra, G., Kovács, Á. M. (2018). Retrospective attribution of false beliefs in 3-year-old children, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115 (45), 11477–11482.

Király, I. & Oláh, K. (2018). Rational Imitation. In: Vonk, J. & Shackelford, T. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer.

Pető, R., Elekes, F., Oláh, K., & Király, I. (2018). Learning how to use a tool: Mutually exclusive tool–function mappings are selectively acquired from linguistic in-group models. Journal of experimental child psychology, 171, 99-112.


Oláh, K., Topál, J., Kovács, K., Kis, A., Koller, D., Park, S. Y., & Virányi, Z. (2017). Gaze- following and reaction to an aversive social interaction have corresponding associations with variation in the OXTR gene in dogs but not in human infants. Frontiers in psychology, 8.


Broesch, T., Rochat, P., Olah, K., Broesch, J., & Henrich, J. (2016). Similarities and Differences in Maternal Responsiveness in Three Societies: Evidence From Fiji, Kenya, and the United States. Child development, 87(3), 700-711.

Oláh, K., Elekes, F., Pető, R., Peres, K., & Király, I. (2016). 3-Year-Old Children Selectively Generalize Object Functions Following a Demonstration from a Linguistic In-group Member: Evidence from the Phenomenon of Scale Error. Frontiers In Psychology, 7.

Oláh, K., Elekes, F., Turcsán, B., Kis, O., & Topál, J. (2016). Social Pre-treatment Modulates Attention Allocation to Transient and Stable Object Properties. Frontiers in psychology, 7.


Oláh, K., Kupán, K., Csík, A., Király, I., & Topál, J. (2015). Feature or location? Infants and adults adopt different strategies to search for a hidden toy in an ambiguous task. Infant Behavior And Development, 41, 73-79.

Kushnick, G., Hanowell, B., Kim, J. H., Langstieh, B., Magnano, V., & Oláh, K. (2015). Experimental evidence for convergent evolution of maternal care heuristics in industrialized and small-scale populations. Royal Society open science, 2(6), 140518.


Oláh, K., Elekes, F., Brody, G., Király, I. (2014). Social Category Formation Is Induced by Cues of Sharing Knowledge in Young Children. PLoS ONE, 9(7).

Sümegi, Z., Oláh, K., & Topál, J. (2014). Emotional contagion in dogs as measured by change in cognitive task performance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 160, 106-115.

Topál, J., Kis, A. & Oláh, K. (2014) Dogs’ Sensitivity to Human Ostensive Cues: A Unique Adaptation? In: Kaminski, J. & Marshall-Pescini, S. (eds). The Social Dog.


Oláh, K., Elekes, F., Bródy, G. & Király, I. (2012). Social categorization in early childhood: the significance of shared knowledge. In: Mosaics on Memory Development and Cultural Learning, Department of Cognitive Psychology, ELTE, Budapest