Celeste Kidd  

Assistant Professor of Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Center for Visual Science
Ph.D. 2013, University of Rochester

Celeste Kidd's work investigates the mechanisms that guide young children's early behavior and learning, with a special focus on attention, curiosity, and decision-making. A key feature of her approach is the combination of behavioral methods and computational modeling, which allows her to rigorously test competing theories by quantifying otherwise unobservable cognitive processes or variables. Celeste Kidd became the director of the Baby Lab in 2014, succeeding the lab's founder Dick Aslin, after brief visiting researcher positions at Stanford and MIT.

Major areas of research: Early cognitive development; attention; curiosity; decision-making; eye-tracking; behavioral experimentation; computational modeling; rational analysis.

   Founding Director

Richard N. Aslin  

William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus, Director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging
Ph.D. 1975, University of Minnesota

Professor Aslin's research is now focused primarily on discovering the neural correlates of statistical learning using EEG and NIRS techniques. A portion of the Baby Lab dedicated to these studies is now located in the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging and is called the Baby NeuroLab. Professor Aslin has also become officially affiliated with Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, CT as a Senior Scientist. He will be expanding his studies of EEG and NIRS in infants over the next year using the facilities at Haskins.

Major areas of research: Statistical learning; perception; speech; language development; eye-tracking; infant methods; brain-imaging methods; NIRS.


Habiba Azab  

Graduate Student (Hayden Lab & Kidd Lab)
B.S. 2014, New York Institute of Technology, M.A. 2017, University of Rochester

Habiba is interested in understanding how people make decisions, and the factors that affect their decision-making process—both conscious and unconscious. She expects that obtaining a better understanding the dynamics of how these factors influence the decision-making process will shed light on individuals’ capacities for self-control, and help us find ways to strengthen this ability both throughout development and in adulthood.

Decision-making, learning, self-control, computational modeling.

Laurie Bayet  

Postdoctoral Researcher (Aslin Lab & Nelson Lab))
Ph.D. 2015, University of Grenoble, France

Laurie investigates how infants perceive things like faces, objects, or words, as a function of learning and development. To that end, she combines behavioral, neuro-imaging, and computational methods. She is currently working on a collaborative project with the Nelson Lab in Boston Children's Hospital, using multivariate pattern analyses of infant EEG and fNIRS data to assess object and word processing in early development.

High-level perceptual development; infant methods; computational modeling

Louis Marti  

Graduate Student (Kidd Lab)
B.S. 2007 & 2013, University of Maryland, College Park

Louis has a background in Computer Science and Cognitive Psychology. After spending several years making video games he decided to change course and go into research. He is primarily interested in how evidence shapes beliefs. This encompasses a broad range of topics including learning, inference, reasoning, belief revision and curiosity. In addition to being interested in these low-level mechanisms, he is also interested in how these give rise to beliefs in pseudoscience such as climate change denial, alternative medicine and intelligent design.

Bayesian reasoning; causal reasoning; abductive reasoning; inductive reasoning; deductive reasoning; veridical knowledge; belief revision; curiosity; heuristics

Laura Soskey  

Graduate Student (Bennetto Lab & Kidd Lab)
B.S. 2010, Tufts, M.A. 2015, University of Rochester

Laura studies the neurocognitive basis of development of social communication in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Specifically, her work has focused on characterizing auditory spatial attention in children with ASD and investigating whether characteristic deficits in attentional orienting to speech are related to the acoustic complexity of speech sounds. Work in progress explores differences in predictability preferences between children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children using a combination of behavioral methods and computational modeling.

Social communication; autism spectrum disorder; statistical learning; attention.

Shirlene Wade  

Graduate Student (Kidd Lab)
B.A. 2013, UC San Diego, M.A. 2017, University of Rochester

Shirlene studies the contextual determinants of curiosity and the relationship between curiosity and learning. She is also interested in how changes in attention and other cognitive abilities influence curiosity and information seeking behaviors.

Curiosity; attention; learning; language development; number concept acquisition.

  Research Staff

Holly Palmeri  

Baby Lab Manager (Kidd Lab & Aslin Lab)
B.A. 2011, University of Rochester

Holly oversees all administrative aspects of Baby Lab research, in addition to assisting all of the postdoctoral and graduate student researchers by running many of their behavioral experiments. Her own research in the Baby Lab has employed a combination of behavioral methods, such as real world tasks and eye-tracking, in order to study how infants form conceptual categories and make decisions that maximize the expected reward.

Language learning; cross-situational word learning; infant attention; early decision-making.

Amanda Yung 

Experimental Tools Developer and Programmer (Kidd Lab & Bavelier Lab)
B.S. 2010, University of Pennsylvania

Amanda develops research tools that make creating and sharing eye-tracking experiments easier—for example, KELPY, the Kid Experimental Library in PYthon. She is also studies how children explore and learn from touchscreen devices. She is especially interested in human-computer interaction, her area of study in the Master’s program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Amanda also programs experiments to study attention with Daphne Bavelier in the Brain & Learning Lab.

Human-computer interaction; eye-tracking; KELPY; interactive learning.

Jenna Register 

Experimental Tools Developer and Programmer (CoLaLa & Kidd Lab)
B.S. 2016, University of Rochester

Jenna have been developing a Python library to faciliatate the design and implementation of infant experiments using the high-amplitude sucking procedure (HASP), a paradigm in which infants' sucking on a pacifier is measured while the infants watch movies or hear sounds in order to study their learning and recognition. Once developed, she will use this library to study probability learning in infants. In addition to tool development, Jenna works on her own body of research in her home lab, CoLaLa, in which she investigates how humans naturally handle abstract relations, and how humans’ mental representations may be similar to combinatory logic.

Language of thought; artificial intelligence; concept learning; statistical learning; women in science.

Matthew McGovern 

Experimental Tools Developer and Programmer (Kidd Lab & CoLaLa)
B.S. 2016, SUNY Buffalo

Matthew works on the development of new tools for developmental science at large, such as KELPY, the Kid Experimental Library in PYthon. He has developed several new gaze-contingent functions to make eye-tracking experiments for infants more exciting and engaging. Further work on KELPY has included writing additional new code, including some demos and documentation to make it more user-friendly to new programmers. Matthew was also a contributor to the CrowdHydrology project at UB Geology, and currently works at Microsoft.

Computer science; gaze-contingent paradigms; touchscreen experiments; Python; KELPY.

Research Assistants

Becca Canale

Class of 2019
University of Rochester

Hannah Cohen

Class of 2018
University of Rochester

Sarah Elderkin

Take-Five Scholar (Class of 2017)
University of Rochester

Sarah Field

Class of 2019
University of Rochester

Rebecca Handsman

Class of 2019
University of Rochester

Ally Lee

Class of 2019
University of Rochester

Sarina Zahid

Class of 2017
University of Rochester

  Departmental Collaborators

Jessica Cantlon

PI, Concepts, Actions, and Objects (CAOS) Lab
Associate Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Sam Cheyette

Graduate Student, CoLaLa
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Benjamin Y. Hayden

PI, Hayden Lab
Associate Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Frank Mollica

Graduate Student, CoLaLa
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Steven T. Piantadosi

PI, Computational Language Lab (CoLaLa)
Assistant Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

David Ruskin

Brain & Cognitive Sciences

  External Collaborators

Elika Bergelson

PI, Bergelson Lab
Assistant Professor, Psychology

Tommy Blanchard

Graduate Student Alumni, Hayden Lab
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Daphné Bavelier

PI, Bavelier Lab
Professor, Psychologie
Université de Genève

Erika DeAngelis

Class of 2019
Amherst College

Lauren Emberson

PI, Princeton Baby Lab
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Princeton University

Julian Jara-Ettinger

PI, Computation and Development Lab
Assistant Professor, Psychology

Dave Kleinschmidt

Starr Fellow
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Princeton University

Carla Macias

Graduate Student, CoCoDev Lab
Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Charles A. Nelson III

PI, Nelson Lab
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard
Director of Research, Developmental Medicine
Boston Children's Hospital

Elissa L. Newport

PI, Learning and Development Lab
Professor, Neurology
Director, Center for Brain Plasticity
Georgetown University

Madeline Pelz

Graduate Student, Early Childhood Cognition Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Emily Sumner

Graduate Student, Sarnecka Lab
University of California, Irvine

Daniel J. Weiss

PI, Child Language and Cognition Lab
Associate Professor, Psychology
Pennsylvania State University

Rachel Wu

Assistant Professor, Psychology
UC Riverside

Ben Zinszer

Research Associate, Sound Brain Lab
Communication Sciences and Disorders
UT Austin


Former Graduate Students:

Katie Bankieris, Data Scientist, Mission Health
Vikranth Rao Bejjanki, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University
Cory Bonn, Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descartes
Jeff Coady, Associate Professor, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
Sarah Creel, Associate Professor, Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego
Maryia (Masha) Fedzechkina, Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Sarah Starling, Assistant Professor, Psychology, DeSales University
Celeste Kidd, Assistant Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
Bob McMurray, Associate Professor, Psychology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa
Toby Mintz, Associate Professor, Psychology and Linguistics, University of Southern California
Jenny Saffran, Distinguished Professor, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Former Postdoctoral Fellows:

Elika Bergelson, Assistant Professor, Psychology, Duke
Kyle Chambers, Associate Professor, Psychological Science, Gustavus Adolphus College
Lauren Emberson, Assistant Professor, Psychology, Princeton
Scott Johnson, Professor, Psychology, UCLA
Jessica Maye, Lecturer, Linguistics, Northwestern University
Steven T. Piantadosi, Assistant Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
Patricia Reeder, Assistant Professor, Psychological Science, Gustavus Adolphus College
Mohinish Shukla, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston
Daniel Swingley, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Daniel Weiss, Associate Professor, Psychology and Linguistics, Pennsylvania State University
Katherine S. White, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Waterloo
Ben Zinszer, Research Associate, Communication Sciences and Disorders, UT Austin

Former Lab Staff:

Danielle Branton, Lab Coordinator for Brain and Cognitive Development Lab, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Maritza Gomez, Lab Manager for Lew-Williams Developmental Lab, Psychology, Princeton University
Suzanne Horwitz, Graduate Student, Psychology, Yale University
Kathryn Lukens, Graduate Student, Speech Pathology, Vanderbilt University
Koleen McCrink, Assistant Professor, Psychology, Barnard College
Julie Markant, Assistant Professor, Psychology, Tulane University
Zoe Pruitt, Lab Coordinator, Infant and Child Laboratory, Psychology, Temple University
Hannah Puttre, Lab Coordinator for Child’s Play, Learning and Development Lab, Psychology, University of Deleware
Kathryn Schuler, Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, Georgetown University
Alyssa Thatcher, Information Analyst, Pediatric Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center
Haley Weaver, Lab Coordinator for Temple Infant Lab, Psychology, Temple University
Rachel White, Postdoctoral Researcher, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Sarina Zahid, Graduate Student, East Virginia Medical School
Rosemary Ziemnik, Graduate Student, Clinical Training Program, Neuropsychology Track, Psychology, University of Utah
Laura Zimmermann, Postdoctoral Researcher, Psychology, University of Deleware