Dr Christopher Daniel Erb

PhD in Cognitive Science, Brown University

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I graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2010 with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy. I then completed my PhD in cognitive science in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University in 2015. Following graduate school, I was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I joined the faculty in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland in September of 2018.

Research | Current

My research investigates how the capacity to think and act in flexible, adaptive ways develops across the lifespan and differs between individuals. My primary line of research uses a technique known as reach tracking to investigate how unfolding cognitive processes are reflected in the spatial and temporal dynamics of hand movements (manual dynamics). Relative to traditional behavioral measures, recording manual dynamics presents an innovative and detailed perspective on how cognitive processes unfold over the course of a response (within-trial dynamics), are impacted by recent experience (cross-trial dynamics), and change across the lifespan (developmental dynamics). I have therefore used this technique to investigate fundamental topics in development, including inhibitory control, rule switching, visually guided action, and numerical cognition. This approach to studying the developing mind in action presents important implications for the field regarding how cognitive capacities are both conceptualized and assessed.

My secondary line of research investigates how our ability to learn and reason about cause and effect enables us to think and act in more flexible, adaptive ways. This line of work has explored (i) the inferential principles that guide how children reason about causal relations, (ii) how children reason both predictively (What is the likely effect of a particular event or action?) and diagnostically (What event or action may have caused an observed effect?), and (iii) how adults organize and access their causal knowledge of the world. 

Teaching | Current

PSYCH 109: Mind, Brain, and Behaviour (Lecturer)

PSYCH 200: Foundations of Developmental Psychology (Course Coordinator, Lecturer)

PSYCH 326: Life Span Development (Lecturer)

PSYCH 764: Dual-Process Theories of Human Cognition (Course Coordinator, Lecturer)

Areas of expertise

Child Development, Cognitive Development, Executive Function, Causal Learning and Reasoning

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Chair, Masters Examination Committee

Steering Committee Member, Knowledge Sciences Theme

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Erb, C. D., Touron, D. R., & Marcovitch, S. (2020). Tracking the dynamics of global and competitive inhibition in early and late adulthood: Evidence from the flanker task. Psychology and Aging, 35 (5), 729-743. 10.1037/pag0000435
  • Erb, C. D., & Marcovitch, S. (2019). Tracking the Within-Trial, Cross-Trial, and Developmental Dynamics of Cognitive Control: Evidence From the Simon Task. Child development, 90 (6), e831-e848. 10.1111/cdev.13111
  • Erb, C. D., McBride, A. G., & Marcovitch, S. (2019). Associative priming and conflict differentially affect two processes underlying cognitive control: Evidence from reaching behavior. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 26 (4), 1400-1410. 10.3758/s13423-019-01576-y
  • Erb, C. D., & Aschenbrenner, A. J. (2019). Multiple expectancies underlie the congruency sequence effect in confound-minimized tasks. Acta Psychologica, 198.10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.102869
  • Erb, C. D., & Cavanagh, J. F. (2019). Layers of latent effects in cognitive control: An EEG investigation. Acta psychologica, 195, 1-11. 10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.02.004
  • Erb, C. D., & Marcovitch, S. (2018). Deconstructing the Gratton effect: Targeting dissociable trial sequence effects in children, pre-adolescents, and adults. Cognition, 179, 150-162. 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.06.007
  • Erb, C. D., Moher, J., Song, J.-H., & Sobel, D. M. (2018). Numerical Cognition in Action: Reaching Behavior Reveals Numerical Distance Effects in 5- to 6-Year-Olds. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 4 (2), 286-296. 10.5964/jnc.v4i2.122
  • Erb, C. D. (2018). The developing mind in action: measuring manual dynamics in childhood. Journal of Cognition and Development, 19 (3), 233-247. 10.1080/15248372.2018.1454449


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 3, Room 371
New Zealand

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