Professor Thomas Suddendorf


School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 336 58341


Thomas grew up in Germany and joined UQ in 1999 following postgraduate studies in New Zealand. He investigates the mental capacities in young children and in animals to answer fundamental questions about the nature and evolution of the human mind. His research has attracted several awards (incl. from the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, the Australian Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association) and his critically acclaimed book The Gap (e.g. see reviews in Nature, Science or the Wall Street Journal) is currently being translated into several languages.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Auckland
  • Masters (Coursework), University of Waikato


View all Publications


View all Grants


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

  • Suddendorf, Thomas and Redshaw, Jonathan (2022). Anticipation of future events. Encyclopedia of animal cognition and behavior. (pp. 349-358) Cham, Switzerland: Springer Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-55065-7_1082

  • von Hippel, William, von Hippel, Frank and Suddendorf, Thomas (2021). Evolutionary foundations of social psychology. Social psychology: handbook of basic principles . (pp. 5-22) edited by Paul van Lange, Tory Higgins and Arie Kruglanski. New York, NY USA: Guilford Press.

  • Suddendorf, Thomas (2020). An evolutionary perspective on mental time travel. The Oxford handbook of psychology of time travel and temporality. (pp. 1-27) edited by Frederick M.E. Grouzet. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190256685.013.12

  • Bulley, Adam, Redshaw, Jonathan and Suddendorf, Thomas (2020). The future-directed functions of the imagination: from prediction to metaforesight. The Cambridge handbook of the imagination. (pp. 425-444) edited by Anna Abraham. New York, NY, United States: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781108580298.026

  • Suddendorf, Thomas (2019). Die Entwicklung des Unterschieds. Was den Mensch zum besonderen Tier macht. Entwicklung als kinder- und jugendmedizinische Besonderheit. (pp. 10-12) edited by Klaus Rodens. Koeln, Germany: Berufverband der Kinder- und Jugendarzte.

  • Suddendorf, Thomas and Redshaw, Jonathan (2017). Anticipation of future events. Encyclopedia of animal cognition and behavior. (pp. 1-9) Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1082-1

  • Suddendorf, Thomas (2016). Die Natur und Erstehung der Kluft zwischen Mensch und Tier. Der Mensch, ein Tier? Das Tier, ein Mensch?. (pp. 55-61) edited by Johannes Weinzirl and Peter Heusser. Wuerzburg, Germany: Verlag Konigshausen & Neumann.

  • Suddendorf, Thomas, Brinums, Melissa and Imuta, Kana (2016). Shaping one's future self: the development of deliberate practice. Seeing the future: theoretical perspectives on future-oriented mental time travel. (pp. 343-366) edited by Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein and Karl K. Szpunar. New York, United States: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241537.003.0017

  • Suddendorf, Thomas (2014). Uniquely human. The Best Australian Science Writing. (pp. 180-187) edited by Ashley Hay. Sydney, NSW, Australia: NewSouth.

  • Suddendorf, Thomas and Dong, Andy (2013). On the evolution of imagination and design. Oxford handbook on the development of imagination. (pp. 453-467) edited by Marjorie Taylor. New York, NY, United States: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195395761.013.0029

  • Suddendorf, Thomas (2012). The Rise of the Metamind. The Descent of Mind: Psychological Perspectives on Hominid Evolution. (pp. 218-260) edited by Michael Corballis and Stephen E. G. Lea. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632593.003.0012

  • Suddendorf, Thomas, Addis, Donna Rose and Corballis, Michael C. (2011). Mental time travel and the shaping of the human mind. Predictions in the brain: using our past to generate a future. (pp. 344-354) edited by Moshe Bar. New York, United States: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395518.003.0121

  • Suddendorf, Thomas (2011). Mirror self-recognition on Earth. Consciousness and the universe: quantum physics, evolution, brain & mind. (pp. 782-787) edited by Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff and Subhash Kak. Cambridge, MA, United States: Cosmology Science Publishers.

  • Corballis, Michael C. and Suddendorf, Thomas (2010). The evolution of concepts: a timely look. The making of human concepts. (pp. 365-386) edited by Denis Marshal, Paul C. Quinn and S. E. G. Lea. New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549221.003.17

  • Suddendorf, Thomas and Corballis, M. C. (2008). Episodic memory and mental time travel. Handbook of Episodic Memory. (pp. 31-42) edited by Dere, K., Easton, A., Nadel, L. and Huston, J.. Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S1569-7339(08)00203-8

  • Whiten, Andrew and Suddendorf, Thomas (2007). Great ape cognition and the evolutionary roots of human imagination. Imaginative Minds. (pp. 31-59) edited by Ilona Roth. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264195.003.0002

  • Corballis, M. and Suddendorf, Thomas (2007). Memory, Time, and Language. What makes us human?. (pp. 17-36) edited by Pasternak, C.. United Kingdom: Oneworld Publications.

  • Nielsen, M. G., Suddendorf, T. and Dissanayake, C. (2006). Imitation and self-recogntion in autism: In search of an explanation. Imitation and the Social Mind: Autism and Typical Development. (pp. 138-197) edited by S.J. Rogers and J.H.G. Williams. New York, NY United States: The Guilford Press.

  • Suddendorf, Thomas and Whiten, Andrew (2003). Reinterpreting the Mentality of Apes. From Mating to Mentality: Evaluating Evolutionary Psychology. (pp. 173-196) edited by K. Sterelny and J. Fitness. New York: Psychology Press. doi: 10.4324/9780203484708

  • Suddendorf, T. (2001). A developmental link between the production of gestural representation and understanding of mental representation. Theory in Context and Out. (pp. 217-231) edited by S. Reifel. Westport, Connecticut: Ablex Publishing.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Slaughter, Virginia, Oostenbroek, Janine, Suddendorf, Thomas and Nielsen, Mark (2013). Is the human mirror system operational at birth?. ACNS-2013 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 28 Nov - 1 Dec, 2013. Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Research Foundation. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2013.212.00043

  • Dong, Andy, Collier-Baker, Emma and Suddendorf, Thomas (2010). Animal innovation: a window into design thinking. Design Thinking Research Symposium 8, Sydney, Australia, 19-20 October 2010. Sydney, Australia: DAB documents.

  • Collier-Baker, E. and Suddendorf, T. (2006). Invisible displacement understanding in primates on a new task. The 33rd Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, London, 20-23 April, 2006. London: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.1080/00049530600940016

  • Suddendorf, T., Simcock, G., Nielsen, M. and Collier-Baker, E. (2006). The development of self-recognition in mirrors and live videos. 33rd Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, Bardon Conference Centre, Brisbane, 20-23 April, 2006. London: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.1080/00049530600940016

  • Collier-Baker, E, Davis, JM, Suddendorf, T and Nielsen, M (2004). Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) understand invisible displacement?. BASEL: KARGER.

  • Suddendorf, T., Nielson, M., Slaughter, V. and Simcock, G. (2004). The nature of early self-recognition. 39th Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Sydney, Australia, 29 September - 3 October 2004. CARLTON: Taylor & Francis.

  • Massaro, D.D., Williams, J, Suddendorf, T., Bosseler, A and Peel, N (2003). Lip-reading and visual-auditory integration during speech imitation in autism. AISB '03 Cognition in Machines and Animals, Aberystwyth / University of Wales, 7-11 April, 2003. Wales: The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence.

  • Suddendorf, T. (2000). Various. Symposium on the Nature of Intelligence, Novartis Foundation, London, 30 Nov - 2 December, 1999. Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley.

  • Parr, J. and Suddendorf, T. (1999). Will electronic media help my child to read and write? Views from the autonomy and metamorphosis perspectives. Joint AARE-NZARE 1999 Conference Melbourne Research in Education; Global Issues & Local Effects: The, Swinburne Univ.ersity of Technology, Lilydale, 29 November -2 December, 1999. Melbourne: Australia Association for Research in education (AARE).

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision