About Me

I am a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychology at Yale University, working with Dr. Laurie Santos and Dr. Julian Jara-Ettinger. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016 with a B.S. in Psychology, and I received an M.A. (2018) and Ph.D. (2021) in Anthropology from the University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. Evan MacLean. I have previously worked as a Graduate Teaching Associate in both the School of Anthropology and the School of Mind, Brain and Behavior at the University of Arizona.

My research interests broadly center on cognitive evolution, with a particular emphasis on social-cognitive abilities such as theory of mind and shared intentionality. I am also interested in cognitive development, cooperative communication, social play, and relationships between neuroanatomy and cognition both within and across species. I investigate these topics by integrating non-invasive cognitive, behavioral, and biological research in humans, dogs, wolves, and free-ranging non-human primates.

My current research focus is on understanding human sociality from a comparative perspective, asking which, if any, social-cognitive skills and motivations are unique to humans, why they may have evolved, and how they support the social behaviors that humans undertake.

Human sociality is built on a suite of complex cognitive abilities that allow us to make sense of others’ actions, predict what others might do next, and coordinate our own actions with those of others. For example, upon observing a child grasp for a cookie jar, we can readily infer that the child believes that there are cookies in the jar and that they want to eat them. Representing others’ mental states in this way helps us to understand the causal forces behind agentic actions we are confronted with, namely, others’ unique knowledge, beliefs, and desires. We can then quickly reason about what others might do in the future given our representations of their mental states and, in turn, appropriately adjust our own actions in both competitive and cooperative contexts. Regarding the latter, we also often share mental states with others by, for example, forming shared goals in which we work together with others in a common endeavor. I am interested in the extent to which other species make use of similar abilities to represent and share mental states in guiding their social behaviors; for more information about this work, view my publications below.

Research Experience

Canine Cognition Center at Yale, New Haven, CT (2015; 2021 – Present)
Cayo Santiago Biological Field Station, Punta Santiago, Puerto Rico (2016 – Present)
Canine Companions for Independence, Santa Rosa, CA & Oceanside, CA (2016 – Present)
Derby City Agility Association, Louisville, KY (2021 – Present)
Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Tucson, AZ (2018 – 2021)
Arizona Canine Cognition Center, Tucson, AZ (2016 – 2021)
Wildlife Science Center, Stacy, MN (2018)
Human Memory Lab, Chapel Hill, NC (2015 – 2016)
Lenovo User Experience Research Team, Morrisville, NC (2014 – 2016)
Somatosensory Research Lab, Chapel Hill, NC (2013 – 2014)

Peer-Reviewed Publications

13) ManyDogs Project, Espinosa, J., Bray, E.E., Buchsbaum, D., Byosiere, S.E., Byrne, M., Freeman, M.S., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Alexandrina Guran, C.-N., Horschler, D.J., Huber, L., Johnston, A.M., MacLean, E.L., Pelgrim, M.H., Santos, L., Silver, Z.A., Stevens, J.R., Völter, C.J., & Zipperling, L. (In revision). ManyDogs 1: A multi-lab replication study of dogs’ pointing comprehension. Animal Behavior and Cognition. [Preprint]

12) Horschler, D.J., Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Byrne, M., Levy, K.M., Kennedy, B.S., & MacLean, E.L. (In press). Dogs re-engage human partners when joint social play is interrupted: A behavioral signature of shared intentionality? Animal Behaviour.

11) Salomons, H., Smith, K.C.M., Callahan-Beckel, M., Callahan, M., Levy, K., Kennedy, B.S., Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., Gruen, M., Tan, J., White, P., vonHoldt, B.M., MacLean, E.L., & Hare, B. (2021). Cooperative communication with humans evolved to emerge early in domestic dogs. Current Biology, 31. [PDF]

10) Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., Levy, K.M., Kennedy, B.S., Famula, T.R., & MacLean, E.L. (2021). Early-emerging and highly heritable sensitivity to human communication in dogs. Current Biology, 31. [PDF]
    Featured on the issue’s cover

9) Horschler, D.J., Santos, L.R., & MacLean, E.L. (2021). How do non-human primates represent others’ awareness of where objects are hidden? Cognition, 212. [PDF]

8) Arre, A.M.* & Horschler, D.J.* (2021). Swimming and diving as social play in juvenile rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Behaviour, 158(6), 529-546. [*Denotes equal contribution] [PDF]

7) Bray, E.E., Gruen, M.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., Levy, K.M., Kennedy, B.S., Hare, B.A., & MacLean, E.L. (2020). Dog cognitive development: A longitudinal study across the first two years of life. Animal Cognition, 24(2), 311-328. [PDF]

6) Horschler, D.J., MacLean, E.L., & Santos, L.R. (2020). Advancing gaze-based research on primate theory of mind. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24(10), 778-779. [PDF]

5) Bray, E.E., Gruen, M.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., Levy, K.M., Kennedy, B.S., Hare, B.A., & MacLean, E.L. (2020). Cognitive characteristics of 8-to-10-week-old assistance dog puppies. Animal Behaviour, 66, 193-206. [PDF]

4) Horschler, D.J., MacLean, E.L., & Santos, L.R. (2020). Do non-human primates really represent others’ beliefs? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24(8), 594-605. [PDF]

3) Horschler, D.J. & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Leveraging brain-body scaling relationships for comparative studies. Animal Cognition, 22(6), 1197-1202. [PDF]

2) Horschler, D.J., Santos, L.R., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Do non-human primates really represent others' ignorance? A test of the awareness relations hypothesis. Cognition, 190, 72-80. [PDF]

1) Horschler, D.J., Hare, B., Call, J., Kaminski, J., Miklósi, Á., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Absolute brain size predicts dog breed differences in executive function. Animal Cognition, 22(2), 187-198. [PDF]
    Selected as the issue’s highlight article

Submitted Manuscripts

Mulligan, N.W., Susser, J.A., & Horschler, D.J. (In revision). Action memory and metamemory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Conference Presentations

23) Horschler, D.J., MacLean, E.L., & Santos, L.R. (2021). What do non-human primates represent about others’ knowledge of hidden objects? Talk presented at the Annual Conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (Virtual meeting).

22) Horschler, D.J., Bray, E.E., & MacLean, E.L. (2021). Interpreting dogs' re-engagement behaviors after disrupted joint activities. Talk presented at the Yale University East Coast Canine Cognition Workshop (Virtual meeting).

21) Horschler, D.J., Bray, E.E., & MacLean, E.L. (2021). Do dogs form joint intentions with humans in social play? Talk presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s Origins of the Social Mind Preconference (Virtual meeting).

20) Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., & MacLean, E.L. (2021). Heritable variation in dog social cognition. Thread presented at the Animal Behavior Society and Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Twitter Conference (Virtual meeting).

19) Gnanadesikan, G.E., Espinsoa, J.H., & ManyDogs. (2021). ManyDogs 1: An International Collaborative Approach to Pointing Comprehension in Domestic Dogs. Thread presented at the Animal Behavior Society and Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Twitter Conference (Virtual meeting).

18) Horschler, D.J., Bray, E.E., & MacLean, E.L. (2020). Do dogs re-engage humans when joint experiences end? Talk presented at the Yale University East Coast Canine Cognition Workshop, New Haven, CT.

17) Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., & MacLean, E.L. (2020). Early development and longitudinal stability of cognitive traits in working dogs. Talk presented at the Yale University East Coast Canine Cognition Workshop, New Haven, CT.

16) MacLean, E.L., Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., & Horschler, D.J. (2020). Associations between individual differences in cognition and training outcomes in assistance dogs. Talk presented at the Yale University East Coast Canine Cognition Workshop, New Haven, CT.

15) Horschler, D.J., Santos, L.R., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Awareness relations underpin knowledge representation in rhesus monkeys. Talk presented at the UA-ASU Cognitive Science Conclave, Tucson, AZ.

14) Horschler, D.J., Santos, L.R., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). How do non-human primates represent what others know? Talk presented at the 7th Annual Conference of the Southwestern Association of Biological Anthropologists, Tempe, AZ.
    Awarded prize for best student podium presentation

13) MacLean, E.L., Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., & Horschler, D.J. (2019). Ontogeny and heritability of cognitive and temperamental traits in an assistance dog population. Talk presented at the International Canine Science Conference, Tempe, AZ.

12) Horschler, D.J., Santos, L.R., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Do non-human primates really represent others' ignorance? Talk presented at the 26th International Conference on Comparative Cognition, Melbourne Beach, FL.
    Selected as a finalist for the Ron Weisman Outstanding Student Presentation Award

11) Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Early emerging cognition in 9-week-old puppies. Talk presented at the 26th International Conference on Comparative Cognition, Melbourne Beach, FL.

10) MacLean, E.L., Bray, E.E., Gnanadesikan, G.E., & Horschler, D.J. (2019). Heritability of cognitive traits in a pedigreed dog population. Talk presented at the 26th International Conference on Comparative Cognition, Melbourne Beach, FL.

9) Gnanadesikan, G.E., Horschler, D.J., & MacLean, E.L. (2019). Social cues and hormonal profiles over development in wolf puppies. Poster presented at the GPSC Student Showcase, Tucson, AZ.

8) Horschler, D.J. & MacLean, E.L. (2018). Absolute brain size predicts dog breed differences in executive function and social cognition. Poster presented at the GPSC Student Showcase, Tucson, AZ.

7) Horschler, D.J. & MacLean, E.L. (2018). Dogs as a model for the cognitive implications of neuroanatomical variation. Talk presented at the Yale University East Coast Canine Cognition Workshop, New Haven, CT.

6) MacLean, E.L. & Horschler, D.J. (2018). Breed differences in dog cognition are predicted by absolute brain volume. Talk presented at the 126th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

5) Horschler, D.J. & MacLean, E.L. (2017). Absolute brain size predicts dog breed differences in executive function and social cognition. Poster presented at the UA-ASU Cognitive Science Conclave, Tucson, AZ.

4) Horschler, D.J. & MacLean, E.L. (2017). Absolute brain size predicts dog breed differences in working memory and social cognition. Poster presented at the North American Canine Science Forum, Tempe, AZ.

3) Horschler, D.J., Susser, J.A., & Mulligan, N.W. (2016). Metamemory for performed and observed actions: Within-subjects. Poster presented at the UNC Psychology and Neuroscience Honors Poster Symposium, Chapel Hill, NC.

2) Horschler, D.J., Susser, J.A., & Mulligan, N.W. (2016). Metamemory for performed and observed actions: Within-subjects. Poster presented at the UNC Celebration of Undergraduate Research, Chapel Hill, NC.

1) Horschler, D.J. (2014). Insights into user experience at Lenovo. Poster presented at the Karen M. Gil Internship Program Poster Symposium, Chapel Hill, NC.

Invited Talks

University of Arizona, HNRS 395H: Spiritual and Scientific Approaches to Consciousness (2021)
Yale University, PHIL 271: Philosophy of Language (2020)
Boston College, Canine Cognition Center and Social Learning Laboratory (2020)
University of Arizona, AGUA Student Lecture Series (2019)
University of Arizona, Grad Slam Competition (2019)
Yale University, Comparative Cognition Laboratory (2019)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PSYC 67: The Senses of Animals (2015)

Selected Media Coverage


Commentary on Related Research

Teaching Experience

NSCS 200: Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (Spring 2020)
University of Arizona | Department of Neuroscience | School of Mind, Brain & Behavior
Graduate Teaching Associate | ~160 students

ANTH 170C2: Animal Minds (Fall 2019)
University of Arizona | School of Anthropology | College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Graduate Teaching Associate | Two sections (~30 students each)

ANTH 327: Dog Thought (Spring 2019)
University of Arizona | School of Anthropology | College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Graduate Teaching Associate | ~150 students

NSCS 321: Research Methods in Cognitive Science (Fall 2018)
University of Arizona | Department of Neuroscience | School of Mind, Brain & Behavior
Graduate Teaching Assistant | ~110 students

ANTH 170: Human Variation in the Modern World (Fall 2017 & Spring 2018)
University of Arizona | School of Anthropology | College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Graduate Teaching Assistant | Two sections per semester (~30 students each)

Contact Information

Mailing Address
Yale University
Department of Psychology
Box 208205 [2 Hillhouse Ave]
New Haven, CT 06520-8205

Email Address
daniel.horschler [at] yale.edu

CV: Download