Directors

Richard N. Aslin  

William R. Kenan Professor of Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Center for Visual Science
Ph.D. 1975, University of Minnesota


Richard Aslin’s research is directed to exploring and understanding a form of implicit learning typically referred to as "statistical learning." Empirical studies of statistical learning have evolved from low-level tasks (e.g., word segmentation) to explore order effects in learning multiple structures and how statistical patterns trigger the formation of categories. An important goal of these studies is to reveal the computational constraints and the neural mechanisms that enable statistical learning in infants, children, adults, and non-human animals.

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

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 and decision-making. Her work draws on rational models to make sense of both children's implicit attentional decisions, and overt behavioral decisions (e.g., selecting actions that optimize promised rewards). She employs a range of methodologies including eye-tracking, behavioral experiments, and large-scale eye-tracking corpus studies. A key feature of her approach is the combination of behavioral methods and computational modeling, which allows her to rigorously test competing theories of decision-making and learning by quantifying otherwise unobservable cognitive processes or variables.

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

  Researchers

Habiba Azab  

Graduate Student (Kidd Lab & Hayden Lab)
B.S. 2014, New York Institute of Technology


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.

Katie Bankieris  

Graduate Student (Aslin Lab)
M.A. 2011, University of Edinburgh


Katie studied neuroscience and behavioral biology at Emory University, and then, on a Fulbright scholarship, the psychology of language at the University of Edinburgh. Her current work concerns multisensory integration, or how the human nervous system combines information from different sensory modalities (e.g., sight, sound, taste). She is particularly interested in the role of multisensory integration in synesthesia and language comprehension.Her research aims to discover how these processes function in adults, as well as how they develop in children.

Sensory integration; synesthesia; concepts and category acquisition; perception; statistical modeling.

Laurie Bayet  

Postdoctoral Researcher (Aslin Lab & Nelson Lab))
PhD 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

Cory Bonn  

Graduate Student (Aslin Lab & CAOs Lab)
M.A., 2010, University of Rochester


Cory is interested in how humans extract categories from continuous dimensions, particularly in speech-category acquisition: How did the neural and computational machinery necessary for speech-category acquisition come into being and what abilities separate us from non-human primates? He is also avidly interested in developing eye-tracking methodologies for use with infants, such as a gaze-contingent methodology for use in categorization tasks. He is also a member of the Cantlon Lab where he is working on problems of generalized magnitude representation.

Language acquisition; musical and numeric cognition; infant eye-tracking.

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

Shirlene Wade  

Graduate Student (Kidd Lab)
B.A. 2013, UC San Diego


Shirlene studied psychology and linguistics with an emphasis on cognition and language as an undergraduate at UC San Diego. She is interested in the role of attention and working memory on word learning, language processing, and speech production. She is also interested in understanding how different types of contexts (such as talker identity and environmental context) affect word learning and language processing.

Attention; memory; language development; language processing; speech production; 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.

Matthew McGovern 

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


Matthew is a computer science undergraduate student at SUNY Buffalo who 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 is also currently a contributor to the CrowdHydrology project at UB Geology.

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

Research Assistants

Becca Canale

Class of 2019
University of Rochester

Sarah Elderkin

Class of 2017
University of Rochester

Sarah Field

Class of 2019
University of Rochester

Zoe Pruitt

Class of 2016
University of Rochester

Haley Weaver

Class of 2017
University of Rochester

Sarina Zahid

Class of 2017
University of Rochester

  Departmental Collaborators

Elika Bergelson

PI, SEEDLingS Project
Assistant Research Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Tommy Blanchard

Graduate Student, Hayden Lab
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Jessica Cantlon

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

Benjamin Y. Hayden

PI, Hayden Lab
Assistant Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Dave Kleinschmidt

Graduate Student, HLP Lab
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Chigusa Kurumada

PI, Kurumada Lab
Assistant Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Steven T. Piantadosi

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

David Ruskin

Lecturer
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

  External Collaborators

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

Graduate Student, Early Childhood Cognition Lab
Brain & Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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
University of California, Irvine

Daniel J. Weiss

PI, Comparative Communication Lab
Associate Professor, Psychology
Pennsylvania State University

Rachel Wu

PI, CALLA Lab
Assistant Professor, Psychology
UC Riverside

  Alumni

Former Graduate Students:


Vikranth Rao Bejjanki, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University
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 Research Professor, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
Kyle Chambers, Associate Professor, Psychological Science, Gustavus Adolphus College
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

Former Lab Staff:

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, Postdoctoral Researcher, Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
Kathryn Schuler, Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, Georgetown University
Alyssa Thatcher, Information Analyst, Pediatric Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center
Rachel White, Postdoctoral Researcher, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Rosemary Ziemnik, Graduate Student, Clinical Training Program, Neuropsychology Track, Psychology, University of Utah
Laura Zimmermann, Graduate Student, Human Development and Public Policy, Georgetown University