We study the origin and structure of thought

in the minds and brains of human adults, children and infants.

mom and baby
guy with backpack
people working around a table

Our Research


in a classroom

Research in the SaxeLab is motivated by big questions: How does the human brain — an electrical and biological machine — construct abstract thoughts? What aspects of our brains and minds are universal, shared by all humans, and how much is specific to a culture, or unique to an individual?

We often ask these questions about social cognition: how people think about people. We ask: how do people figure out what someone else knows, wants, or feels? How do they use that information to communicate or teach, to make moral judgements, or to exacerbate or repair conflicts? What brain regions are involved, and what specifically are they doing? How does this system work in adults, in children, and even in infants? How can computational models capture human observers’ sophisticated inferences about other people?

The X-ray of the human brain closeup image

Interested in our research?


Open Science

Improving transparency and reproducibility of scientific research

We aim to make research reproducible and FAIR. We aim to share documentation, preregistrations, data, tasks and stimuli, preprints, and all our publications. We also strive to participate in collective scientific endeavors to improve the field, for example by participating in the Open Science Reproducibility Project: Psychology, and in Many Babies.

open science
Resources images

Saxelab Resources

Localizers, data, documentation, & more

Principal Investigator

Learn more about Rebecca Saxe, the lab’s principal investigator.

Come do a Research Fellowship (postdoc) with us at IAST!

Work 100% on your own research
Contract for 2 +1 years
Super-interdisciplinary (anthro, bio, psych, econ, poli sci, and more).

In a paradise city in the south of France
Apply by Nov 15

Why do we remember some songs and forget others? Come to the @MITMuseum on Tues Sept 26 from 3:30-4:45 to find out with MIT grad student @bj_mdn. Bryan studies how and why we remember certain sounds in @JoshHMcDermott's lab @mcgovernmit. @CambSciFest


Excited to announce a new tenure-track faculty search, joint with Psychology and the Kempner Institute for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, at Harvard University. Come join and shape our growing interdisciplinary community! #NeuroAI #CognitiveAI