Doug Frye

Associate Professor

Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-898-7375


Professional Biography

Dr. Frye’s first teaching and research appointment was abroad at Cambridge University. He returned to the United States to pursue research in computer science at Yale and subsequently resumed teaching and research at New York University. He joined the faculty at Penn GSE in 1998.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Frye’s research efforts are concentrated on two topics in cognitive development, children’s theories of mind and early mathematical development. The first considers the developments that are important for theory of mind and the effects those developments subsequently have on children’s social competence. This research investigates the relation of theory of mind to executive control in particular and to early childhood development in general. It examines the benefits theory of mind has for young children’s social-emotional understanding and for their understanding of teaching and learning.

The goal of the second research effort is to understand how children initially acquire mathematical reasoning skills. This research assesses the cognitive changes that occur in early math learning and employs that information to design interactive classroom and computer settings to improve math understanding. Present projects include collaborating with urban Head Start centers to support emergent numeracy and social competence to ensure young children’s readiness for the transition to school.

Selected Publications

Frye, D., & Wang, Z. : Theory of mind, understanding teaching, and early childhood education. Cognitive development in K-3 classroom learning: Research applications. C. Fiorello & K. Thurman (eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, Page: 85-104, 2008.

Muller, U., Lieberman, D. , Frye, D. & Zelazo, P.: Executive function, school readiness, and school achievement. Cognitive development in K-3 classroom learning: Research applications. C. Fiorello & K. Thurman (eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, Page: 41-84, 2008.

Frye, D., & Ziv, M. : Teaching and learning as intentional activities. The development of social cognition and communication. C. Tamis-Lemonda & B. D. Homer (eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, Page: 231-258, 2005.

Frye, D. : What good can we expect from preschool assessment? Social Policy Report 19: 4, 2005.

Ziv, M., & Frye, D. : Children’s understanding of teaching: The role of knowledge and belief. Cognitive Development 19: 457-477, 2004.

Zelazo, P. D., Müller, U., Frye, D.& Marcovitch, S. : The Development of Executive Function in Early Childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. 68(3, Serial No. 274), 2003.

Ziv, M., & Frye, D. : The relation between desire and false belief in children’s theory of mind: No satisfaction? Developmental Psychology 39: 859-876, 2003.

Frye, D., & Zelazo, P.D. : The development of young children’s action control and awareness. Agency and self-awareness: Issues in philosophy and psychology. J. Roessler & N. Eilan (eds.). Oxford University Press, Page: 244-262, 2003.

Zelazo, P. D., Jacques, S., Burack, J. A., & Frye D. : The relation between theory of mind and rule use: Evidence from persons with autism-spectrum disorders. Infant and Child Development (Special Issue: Executive Functions and Development) 11: 171-195, 2002.

Zelazo, P. D., Burack, J. A., Boseovski, J. J., Jacques, S., & Frye, D. : A Cognitive Complexity and Control framework for the study of autism Development and autism: Perspectives from theory and research. T. Charman, J. A. Burack, N. Yirmiya, & P. R. Zelazo (eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, Page: 195-217, 2001.