skip to content

Centre for Family Research



I obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology with Highest Honours from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to coming to Cambridge, I pursued my Master's degree in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University.


I am currently a PhD candidate supervised by Professor Claire Hughes. The key question motivating my research is how culture and important social contexts (e.g., parents, peers and schools) interact to impact children's cognitive and social development. My PhD examines cross-cultural contrasts in the development of executive function (EF) in late childhood and explores the influences of proximal and distal family factors on children's EF and academic ability.


Key publications: 


Xu, C., Ellefson, M. R., & Hughes, C. (2018, April) Age-related changes in executive function during late childhood across cultures. Poster presented at the SRA Biennial Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. 
Xu, C., Ellefson, M. R., & Hughes, C. (2017, September) Development of executive function in preadolescence: a cross-cultural analysis of samples from Mainland China, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Poster presented at the British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Xu, C., & Selman, R. L. (2016, April). The case of the bragging math whiz: how cultural norms affect Chinese youths’ interpretations of classmates’ responses to bullying. Poster presented at the SRA Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
PhD student

Contact Details

(+44) 01223 334526
Not available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
child development
social cognition
executive function