Bennett I. Bertenthal

Bennett I. Bertenthal

James H. Rudy Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

  • (812) 856-0958
  • Psychology Building 371
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Brain Research Institute of UCLA Medical School, 1978-9
  • Ph.D., University of Denver, 1978
  • M.A., University of Denver, 1976
  • B.A., Brandeis University, 1971


Areas of Study

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience

Research Topics

  • Perceptual, motor, and cognitive development
  • Action observation and execution
  • Perception of biological motion
  • Infants' social attention and cogniton

Research Summary

My research focuses on the origins, development, and basic processing mechanisms involved in the perception and representation of actions by social and non-social stimuli. Recent neuroimaging, electrophysiological, and behavioral findings reveal that planning, observation, and imaging of actions share a common neural substrate. Our investigations incorporate behavioral, electrophysiological, and eye movement methods for studying the functional implications of this common substrate in infants, children and adults. Experimental tasks involving imitation, response priming, search for hidden objects, predictive tracking and reaching, gaze cueing and pointing, and the effects of authorship and expertise, are used for investigating the links between the observation and execution of actions. We are especially interested in the interplay between automatic and intentional processes in performing these tasks, and whether the perception of social stimuli requires knowledge of goals and intentions.