Events

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  • Sep
    25
    2:00pm - 3:30pm

    Cognitive Seminar Series

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker:  Jonathan Kominsky (Postdoc at Rutgers)

    Title: The development of causal thought

    Abstract: We rely on the human mind’s uniquely sophisticated understanding of cause and effect when we flick a light switch to turn on a light, or recognize that an object’s movement is caused by the person holding it rather than the other way around, or even understand the meaning of a verb. Yet there are foundational questions about causality in the mind that we have not yet answered. How do infants’ understandings of simple causal events become the complex causal concepts that we manipulate as adults, and the even more intricate causal reasoning we engage in as scientists? Past work has argued that mature causal understanding springs from a single atomic notion of causality but disagreed about whether that origin is a perceptual module, a domain-general learning system, or the experience of being a causal agent. I will present recent projects that support a different kind of explanation: that we start with multiple, disconnected ways of understanding cause and effect, and must construct a more integrated concept of causality later in development.

    Bio:I am interested in how our minds represent the many cause-and-effect relationships we encounter in our daily lives, and how these representations are used in reasoning, perception, and action. I use tools from vision science, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology to examine what kinds of causality are represented in the mind, how different kinds of causal representations may be related to each other, and how they emerge during development.

    I also created PyHab, an open-source system for infant looking-time studies. It is designed for real time infant gaze coding and stimulus presentation, and creates self-contained experiment folders to make it easier to share your whole experiment, stimuli and code, across labs or for repositories like OSF. You can find out more about it here .

    I am currently a postdoctoral associate in the Computational Cognitive Development Group at Rutgers - Newark. Before that, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies for three years.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Sep
    30
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.  Speaker: Shiying Yang ( PhD student, Brown)

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    1

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: James Todd (Ohio State University) Emeritus Professor, Cognitive  

    Bio: My research is primarily concerned with the visual perception of 3-dimensional form from various types of optical information, such as shading, texture, motion, and binocular disparity. The specific goals of this research are twofold: First, to identify the formal characteristics of how an object’s 3-dimensional form is perceptually represented; and second, to discover how these representations are computed from the measurable properties of visual images. In addressing these issues we attempt to develop specific computational models of how image structure could be perceptually analyzed, and to empirically test the validity of those models for actual human observers.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    2

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.  Speaker: Danny Ullman (Grad student at Brown)

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    5
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series. 

    Speaker: Stephanie Denison (Associate Professor University of Waterloo)

    Title : Information use in social-cognitive reasoning

    Abstract: Recent work in my lab aims to understand the ways in which young children use numerical information, combined with social information and learning mechanisms to inform their judgments and decision making. A large body of work has established that infants and young children (and non-human animals) use proportional or other numerical information to make basic probabilistic inferences (e.g., Denison & Xu, 2014; Rakoczy et al., 2014; Téglás et al., 2007; Xu & Garcia, 2008). Beyond this, young children appear to use this information about numbers, base-rates, and sampling to make other inferences, including social inferences (e.g., Kushnir et al., 2013). But much like adults, children need to balance this numerical information with other sources of information when reasoning and making predictions about other people’s minds and behavior. I’ll review some recent work that suggests that between the ages of 4 and 7, children’s ability to integrate and use numerical and social information in their inferences undergoes significant development, sometimes (seemingly) for the better and sometimes (seemingly) for the worse.

    Research Interests:   My research investigates cognitive development in infancy and early childhood. I am currently working on three specific topics:

    1. Probabilistic inference in infancy and early childhood. This line of research explores probabilistic inference using multiple methods, across multiple age groups. One project explores the origins of our ability to make inferences between samples and populations in very young infants. A second set of projects in this line investigates 8- and 11-month-old infants’ abilities to integrate domain knowledge in probabilistic inference. A third set of projects looks at how young infants can use probabilistic inferences to guide their own actions. In this line of research, we use an action measure to see if infants can make predictions using probability information. This work is in collaboration with: Fei Xu and Kathie Pham.

    2. The development of preference attribution in infancy. This project investigates the known developmental shift that occurs between 14- and 18-months of age regarding the knowledge of others’ preferences. We are developing a training study that investigates the kinds of experiences children might require in order to make this transition. This work is in collaboration with: Chris Lucas and Alison Gopnik.

    3. Computational approaches to cognitive development. In this line of research, we are studying causal inference in young children. We are examining the strategies that children use when testing hypotheses, and we have found that children’s hypothesis selection approximates Bayesian inference and, in some cases, is in line with a win-stay, lose-shift algorithm. This work is in collaboration with: Liz Bonawitz, Tom Griffiths and Alison Gopnik.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    7
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series. 

    Speaker: Christina Schonberg (Postdoc, UW Madison)

    Bio: Christina Schonberg is a postdoctoral research associate at UW-Madison. They earned their PhD in Developmental Psychology from UCLA and BA in Psychology from Northwestern University. Christina’s research examines specific mechanisms through which language can act as an agent of cognitive change. For example, their current work investigates how variability in language knowledge and exposure (e.g., in monolinguals and bilinguals) influences higher-order cognitive processes such as categorization, cognitive flexibility, and induction.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    8

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    Speaker: Joshua Liddy (Postdoc at Song Lab)

    Bio: Josh Liddy is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the CLPS department at Brown. His background is in human motor control including mechanisms of postural stability, locomotor control, and the integration of postural and manual behaviors, such as reaching and tool use. He is interested in understanding how interactions between cognition (e.g., attention) and action (e.g., reaching, standing, and walking) facilitate goal-directed behavior across the lifespan.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    9
    2:00pm - 3:30pm

    Cognitive Seminar Series

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series. 

    Speaker:  Maureen Ritchey (Assistant Professor Boston College)

    Bio: 

    I joined Boston College as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in 2016. I completed my Ph.D. in Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University, where I was a student in the interdisciplinary cognitive neuroscience training program. After then, I trained as a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Neuroscience at the University of California, Davis. My research has been funded by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, including the Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). At Boston College, I teach courses related to cognitive neuroscience, research methods, and everyone’s favorite brain structure, the hippocampus.

    Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking and camping, adventures in baking, and Boston summers.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    14
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series. 

    Speaker: Emily Morgan (Assistant Professor UC Davis)

    Bio: I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at UC Davis.

    My research

    To know a language is to use one’s past linguistic experience to form expectations about future linguistic experience. This process is mediated by both speakers’ stored representations of their previous experience, and the online procedures used to process new stimuli in light of those representations. My research thus asks what the form of these representations is, and how the language processing system integrates these stored representations with incoming stimuli to form online expectations during language comprehension. For example, when one encounters a highly frequent phrase such as “bread and butter”, is this phrase represented and processed holistically as a single unit, or compositionally as a conjunction of nouns? Is the form of this representation influenced by the frequency of the or its frozenness in a given order (compared to a more flexible expression like “boys and girls”/”girls and boys”)? To answer these questions, I combine experimental psycho- and neurolinguistic methods, such as eye-tracking and ERPs, with probabilistic computational modeling.

    I also ask comparable questions in the domain of music: how is our previous musical experience represented and processed to form expectations for future experience? For example, to what extent does processing of melodies rely upon language-like hierarchical structure versus surface statistics (e.g. note to note transition probabilities)?

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    15

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    Speaker:Rebecca Spencer (Professor University of Massachusetts Amherst)

    Bio:

    Dr. Rebecca Spencer graduated from the Purdue University Neuroscience graduate program, concentrating in neural control of movement. After graduating from Purdue with a PhD in neuroscience in 2002, she went to UC Berkeley where she was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute until 2008. Her postdoctoral work on neural control of motor sequence learning was funded by an NIH NRSA. Subsequently, she was awarded an NIH Pathways to Independence Award (K99/R00) for studies on the age-related changes in sleep-dependent consolidation of motor learning.

    In 2008, Rebecca joined the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2013. Her current work is broadly on the functions of sleep, including topics such as the function of naps for preschool children and the role of age-related changes in sleep on age-related cognitive decline. For this work, she holds two NIH R01 awards and has over 60 publications.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    16

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    Speaker: Sarah Gaither (Assistant Professor Duke)

    Bio: 

    Dr. Sarah Gaither is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and a faculty affiliate at the Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. Prior to Duke, she was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Psychology Department and Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago after earning her Ph.D. and M.S. in Social Psychology from Tufts University and her B.A. in Social Welfare from U.C Berkeley.

    Her research focuses broadly on how a person’s social identities and experiences across the lifespan motivate their social perceptions and behaviors in diverse settings. More specifically, she studies how contact with diverse others shapes social interactions, how having multiple racial or multiple social identities affects different types of social behavior and categorizations of others, and what contexts shape the development of racial perceptions and biases from childhood through adulthood. Growing up as a biracial Black/White woman is what has fueled her research path. CV

    Dr. Gaither is considering graduate students who will enter Fall 2021 (applying Fall 2020)

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    19
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    Speaker: Arber Tasimi (Assistant Professor Emory University)

    Bio:  I’m an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Emory University where I direct the Morality and Development (“MAD”) Lab.

    As a developmental psychologist with broad interests in cognitive psychology, social psychology, and affective science, I study moral decision-making and how it unfolds over real time and developmental time. Take a look at my published papers to get a feel for the kinds of questions I’m interested in and hope to pursue in my lab.

    Before coming to Emory, I received my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and my Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale University. I then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. I’ve also received extensive training at my parents’ restaurant .

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience
  • Oct
    21
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    Speaker: Rachel Elizabeth Weissler (PhD student, UMich Ann Arbor)

    Bio:

    Hi, I’m Rachel Elizabeth, and I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Linguistics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  (GO BLUE!). My foray into linguistics started at my undergraduate institution, Bryn Mawr College  (ANASSA KATA!). My research home is at the intersection of neuro and sociolinguistics. Given that the linguistic brain relates message to speaker within a few hundred milliseconds, I am particularly interested in how varied linguistic knowledge modulates processing of standardized and minoritized American Englishes, specifically African American English. Working across subfields allows me to investigate these important raciolinguistic questions. I engage in public linguistics efforts through my role as Production Assistant for A Way With Words Radio Show , which focuses on language examined through family, history, and culture. Additionally, I am passionate about teaching, and work to create spaces that are conducive to learning through an equity and justice approach. Mentoring is of great importance to me, as I find community support essential for understanding the unwritten rules of navigating academia. Travel is one of my greatest joys in life, and has been one of my greatest teachers.

     

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    22

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    peaker: Bijan Pesaran (Professor New York University)

    Bio: Bijan Pesaran is interested in understanding large-scale circuits in the brain and how to engineer novel brain-based therapies. Bijan completed his undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of Cambridge, UK. After a year in the Theoretical Physics department at Bell Labs Murray Hill, he went on to earn his PhD in Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He then made the switch to neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow in Biology at Caltech. Bijan has been on the faculty at New York University since 2006. He is currently a Professor of Neural Science in the Center for Neural Science. In 2013, he was a CV Starr Visiting Scholar at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. Among other honors and awards, Bijan has received a Burroughs-Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, a Sloan Research Fellowship, a McKnight Scholar Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and is a member of the Simons Collaboration for the Global Brain.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    23
    2:00pm - 3:30pm

    Cognitive Seminar Series

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.   

    Speaker: Hwamee Oh (Assistant Professor Brown)

    Bio:

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

    Affiliated faculty of the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences and Carney Institute for Brain Science

    Director of Imaging Research, Memory and Aging Program, Butler Hospital

    Ph.D., Biopsychology-Cognitive Neuroscience, SUNY-Stony Brook, 2009
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, UC-Berkeley, 2009-2014

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    26
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Arianne Eason (Assistant Professor University of California, Berkeley)

    Research Description: 

    Over the course of US history, there have been and continue to be vast inequalities in terms of race and social class. My research examines how features of our social and cultural context shape peoples’ attitudes and behavior in ways that work to reify existing inequalities and stagnate change.
    Overall, my work aims to shed light on: 1) how we think about and behave towards diverse others within a complex society riddled with inequality; and 2) how we facilitate positive change. Towards these aims, my research draws broadly on developmental, social, and cultural psychology to examine three processes, which I describe in more detail below:

    1. “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”: Racial Segregation and Same-Race Preferences: One hallmark of U.S. society is the people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds who live within it. Nonetheless, these racial groups live, attend schools, and work in largely segregated locations. Consequently, they experience very little diversity and cross-group interaction in their everyday lives. Thus, I investigate how exposure to segregated spaces can shape people’s expectations about cross-race interactions and their willingness to engage across group lines.
    2. “What is left out is as important as what is there”: Bias towards Native Americans: Instead of investigating how our physical landscape shapes people’s perceptions of diverse others, in this line of work I focus on our representational landscape. That is, what are the available representations in our social world, such as those offered by the media, popular culture, school, and even scientific research. By focusing on the omission of representations of Native Americans, I argue, and demonstrate that people make meaning from the lack of representation, and that this constitutes a form of bias, which ultimately impacts intergroup relations.
    3. “Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich?”: Perceptions of Resource Possession and Allocations in Infancy: Given the ubiquity of cues to wealth and resource inequality and the evolutionary significance of resource control, in this line of work I explore the development of evaluations based on resource allocations. For example, I ask are infants sensitive to how resources are distributed/acquired; how do infants evaluate fair and unfair resource distributors; how do infants evaluate advantaged and disadvantaged resource recipients/group members? Furthermore, I investigate whether there are individual/cultural differences in these sensitivities and evaluations.
    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    28
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Athulya Aravind (Assistant Professor MIT)

     

    Bio: I’m an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at MIT, where I co-direct the Language Acquisition Lab . Prior to this, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Lab for Developmental Studies at Harvard. I received my PhD in Linguistics from MIT in 2018.

    The primary focus of my research is first language acquisition. In particular, I look at children’s developing understanding of what structures are licit in their language, how those structures are interpreted, and how they may be used in conversation. I also moonlight as a syntactician.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Nov
    2
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Elisa Felsche (Postdoc University of Michigan)

    Title: Exploring the Evolution and Ontogeny of Imitation and Abstraction: A Hierarchical Bayesian Modelling Approach

    Abstract: Humans have an immense behavioural and cognitive repertoire that has been shaped by cumulative cultural evolution. In my PhD thesis I investigated two cognitive abilities that crucially enlarge the efficiency of skill and knowledge acquisition: 1) the capability for abstraction that enables powerful generalization of information to make wide ranging predictions in new situations and 2) the ability to imitate others which allows the quick and low-risk adoption of new behavioural strategies. Despite decades of accumulating data in both domains, it is still debated to what extent other species share these abilities and how they develop in humans. Solving these persisting disagreements requires an alteration of how data are generated and analysed.

     

    In my dissertation project, I introduced the approach of hierarchical Bayesian modelling to the field of comparative psychology to investigate abstract rule formation and action copying in capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees (only abstract rule formation) and children. In the first two studies participants had to use sampled evidence to infer abstract rules about the item distributions in containers and efficiently guide behaviour in novel test situations. In a third study, we investigated children’s and capuchin monkeys’ ability to integrate causal and social information when copying a goal-directed behaviour. Whereas children’s performance was mostly in line with the predictions of the computational models, showing that they are capable of abstraction and consider causal information when imitating, capuchin monkeys performed in all experiments at chance and chimpanzees showed some understanding of abstract rules.

    Bio: Elisa is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan also working in collaboration the Kibale Chimpanzee Project . She conducted her PhD work on social learning and abstract rule formation in different primate species at the University of St Andrews. She is interested in the evolution of primate cognition and behavior.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Nov
    9
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Title: Uncovering the development of categories with Markov Chain Monte Carlo with children

    Abstract: Uncovering the representation of category structures and their underlying psychological spaces is crucial for understanding human learning. More importantly, charting these structures throughout development can give us important insight into how learning transforms these spaces and how changes are reflected in inference.

    While categorization has received much attention in cognitive and developmental science, experiments usually aim at uncovering the underlying representation indirectly, for example, by using measures such as similarity ratings or forced choices for particular category instances.

    In this talk, I will present an experimental paradigm, Markov chain Monte Carlo, with people (MCMCp) that directly targets these representations. This paradigm takes inspiration from a prominent statistical method and allows us to obtain samples from an arbitrary distribution. MCMCp allows experiments to flexibly explore the participants’ category representations without pre-specifying the test items. I will show how these types of experiments can be made into engaging and child-friendly tasks, and present preliminary results of an online experiment.

    Bio: I want to understand how the (human) mind represents the world and how this representation allows generalization and transfer. To analyze this I compare human learning and generalization with performance and dynamics of machine learning algorithms and computational models.

    My supervisor is Christopher Lucas . During my B.Sc. and M.Sc. I worked with Frank Jäkel at the University of Osnabrück , David Lagnado at UCL London and worked as a visiting Ph.D. student with Daphna Buchsbaum  at the University of Toronto.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Nov
    11
    12:00pm - 2:00pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Andrés Buxó-Lugo (Postdoc, University of Maryland) 

    Bio: 

    I am currently a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology department at the University of Maryland.

    Broadly speaking, I am interested in what speech and prosody — the rhythm, intonation, and intensity of speech — reveal about the cognitive mechanisms that underlie language production, comprehension, and acquisition. An ongoing goal of mine has been to develop computational models of language production and comprehension.

    My latest research focuses on how listeners integrate information from a variety of cues, and on how people learn to understand and produce constructions that are not already familiar to them (e.g., new uses of prosody, pronunciations that are not native to their language, etc.).

    Some of my past research has explored what durational changes reveal about the mechanisms that underlie language production, how communicative context affects how speakers use prosody, and how listeners use information from other levels of language to parse prosodic structure.

    Before arriving at Maryland, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the University of Rochester. I got my PhD in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working in collaboration with Dr. Duane Watson . Before that, I got my BA in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I worked with Dr. Jennifer Arnold .

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Nov
    16

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Caren Walker (Assistant Professor University of California, San Diego)

    Title : Achieving Abstraction: The early appearance of Relational Reasoning

    Abstract: Children’s emerging ability to acquire and apply relational same-different concepts is often cited as a defining feature of human cognition, providing the foundation for abstract thought. Yet, young learners often struggle to ignore irrelevant surface features to attend to structural similarity instead. This has led to the widespread belief that children initially lack relational concepts, which only gradually develop over time. I will begin by reviewing work demonstrating early competence in relational reasoning and propose a novel theoretical approach that challenges the traditional view. Specifically, I will argue that young children have-and retain-genuine relational concepts from a young age, but tend to neglect abstract similarity due to a learned bias to attend to objects and their properties. This account predicts that differences in the structure of children’s environmental input should lead to differences in the type of hypotheses they privilege and apply. I will then present new empirical data in support of this alternative account, emphasizing (1) the robustness of early competence in relational reasoning, (2) the conditions under which older children privilege relational or object similarity, and (3) the causal role of contextual factors on abstract reasoning. Together, these studies provide evidence that the development of abstract thought may be far more malleable and context-sensitive than previously thought.

    Research Interests: My research explores how children learn and reason about the causal structure of the world. In particular, I am interested in how even very young learners are able to acquire abstract representations that extend beyond their observations, simply by thinking. How is “learning by thinking” possible? What does this phenomenon tell us about the nature of early mental representations and how they change? To begin to answer these questions, my work focuses on a suite of activities that impose top-down constraints on human inference (e.g., analogy, explanation, and engagement in imaginary worlds). I also explore the development of scientific thinking and reasoning, including children’s understanding of uncertainty. My approach is interdisciplinary, combining perspectives in psychology, philosophy, education, and computational theory.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Nov
    18
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Youtao Lu (PhD student, Brown)

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Nov
    23
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker:  Angeline Tsui (Postdoc Stanford University)

    Title : Language development of bilingual infants

    Abstract: Many children in the US and around the world are growing up as bilinguals: Nearly 22% of children in the US are learning two or more than two languages at home. The prevalence of bilingualism calls for research investigating the foundations of successful early bilingual language development. My research program answers this call by investigating how bilingual infants handle the demands of learning two languages and in what ways bilinguals differ from monolinguals in their language development. In my talk, I will present evidence that learners can use subtle cues to overcome the challenges of learning two languages in a bilingual environment. On the other hand, most of the time, bilingual infants do not differ from monolingual infants in their word learning, cognitive development and preferences for infant-directed speech. Together, these findings suggest that early bilingualism does not hinder children’s language development relative to their monolingual counterparts. Finally, I will discuss my current and future work extending this research program to real-world educational and clinical applications through the use of collaborative methods and large-scale data collection.

    Bio:  I am a postdoctoral scholar working with Michael C. Frank at Stanford University. My primary research focuses on bilingual infant word learning. I study (i) how young bilingual learners handle the demands of learning two languages in their environments and (ii) whether bilinguals and monolinguals differ in language development and what may drive the difference. More recently, I have focused on the use of large-scale, multi-site studies to examine whether key infancy research findings can be generalized to different populations. I also have a strong interest in advancing infancy research through open science and best research practices (e.g., appropriate use of statistical methods in data analysis).

    My secondary research interest is related to young children’s future-oriented behavior. In particular, I am interested in investigating what motivates children to save for their future and how to foster their saving behavior.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Dec
    2
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Misha Oraa Ali (PhD student, Brown)

    Bio: 

    Hi! I’m currently a PhD student in the Brown Language and Thought Lab , where I do research with Roman Feiman .

    I was a research assistant at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies, working with Elizabeth Spelke and Rhea Howard. Before that, I was a research support associate in the LanguageLab (TedLab) with Edward A Gibson and Paula Rubio-Fernandez at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. I have also been involved with Project Prakash , an initiative from the Sinha Lab for Vision Research at MIT.

    I received my Bachelor’s degree in May 2017 from Mount Holyoke College , with a major in Neuroscience and Behaviour and a special minor in Graphic Narrative and Visual Storytelling. In college, I did my thesis research with Mara Breen where I used ERP to study auditory imagery and implicit prosody - specifically, by investigating the effects of rhythm and metrical structure on poetry during silent reading.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Jan
    27
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Nicole Holliday (Assistant Professor UPenn)

     

    Bio: 

    I study sociolinguistics, specifically, how individuals interact with language to conceptualize and construct identity of both self and others. I’m especially interested in how individuals who cross traditionalracial/ethnic boundaries reflect multiple social identities through linguistic practices. Specifically, I examine the use of suprasegmental features that speakers may employ in the performance of their ethnic identities. The focus of my dissertation was intra- and interspeaker prosodic variation in the sociolinguistic behavior of American black/biracial young men.

    In April 2016, I defended my dissertation entitled “Intonational Variation, Linguistic Style, and the Black/Biracial Experience” at New York University. My dissertation chair was Renee Blake, and my committee consisted of Lisa Davidson, Greg Guy, John Singler, and Erik Thomas (NCSU). In 2016-2017, I was a Chau Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College. From 2017-2020, I was an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College. Since July 2020, I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Feb
    3
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    LingLangLunch

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker:Yoolim Kim (Postdoc, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History)

    Bio: My research focuses on the psycholinguistic processing of writing systems, with specific interest in the Korean alphabet, Hangul. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, my work is on developing ways to quantify visual distinctiveness of characters within a graphic system.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences