Principal Investigator

Dr. Linda SmithLinda B. Smith, PhD. Chancellor's Professor

2013 Recipient of the David E. Rumelhart Prize

CV, faculty webpage

Research Interests: Perceptual and cognitive development in early childhood; classification and categorization; interactions between perception and language.

Smith Lab researchers


Char with Yo and Haru Char Wozniak, Lab Manager/Research Coordinator

Research Interests: Children are born curious, kind of like scientists, with a desire to explore their world. They spontaneously experiment - they smell, taste, bite, coo, cry, giggle, blow, hum and touch - they shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub and try to pull things apart. I am intensely interested in observing children and learning about how they learn.

Megumi Kuwabara Megumi Kuwabara, Research Scientist


Research Interests: Researchers have been finding that adults from different cultures (e.g. people from U.S. and people from Japan) see things in the world in different ways. I am interested in finding out how, why and when these differences develop in young children.

Richard Prather Richard Prather, Postdoctoral Fellow

CV, webpage

Research Interests: I study how young children learn about number concepts. How do children's initial experiences with the number system affect later development? What effect does children's understanding of magnitude in general have on their concept of number?

Catilin Fausey Caitlin Fausey, Postdoctoral Fellow

CV, webpage

Research Interests: What do people see and say in their everyday lives? Does this change with age, and does it influence what people pay attention to and learn? I study how the natural statistics of input matter for language and cognition. In adults, I examine how patterns in language influence eyewitness memory and blame attribution. In children, I study how patterns in early visual experience guide developing object knowledge. Currently, I focus on how infants and children learn from instances distributed over time, using head-camera recordings in the home and behavioral methods in the lab.

Swapnaa Jayaraman Swapnaa Jayaraman, Assistant Scientist


Research Interests: Development is all about change: macro changes like motor milestones and micro changes like neural organization, connectivity and growth. When and how do these changes occur? What are the mechanisms behind these changes? What factors affect these changes? These are questions that developmental scientists are trying to answer in small and large ways. I am particularly interested in how infants perceive, process, and understand faces, and how age, experience, and the environment affect these processes. I take both neurological as well as behavioral approaches to answering these questions.

John Franchak John Franchak, Postdoctoral Fellow


Research Interests: Vision is a whole-body process integrating movements of the eyes, head, and body to bring relevant areas of the environment into view. My research uses head-mounted eye tracking to investigate the first-person visual experiences of infants, children, and adults during motor action and social interaction. Of key interest are how developmental changes in motor skill (e.g., learning to sit, crawl, and walk) and body morphology (e.g., increase in height) change what information is available to the visual system.

Umay Suanda Umay Suanda, Postdoctoral Fellow


Research Interests: My research interests are in the broad area of children's language acquisition with a focus on children's word learning. What are the mechanisms that underlie children's word learning? How do these processes evolve and change over development? What accounts for the individual differences we see in vocabulary acquisition? My current research in the Cognitive Development Lab focuses on the nature of the perceptual, social, and linguistic input parents provide to children at different ages, and how this input helps shape the learning processes involved in children's word learning.

Catarina Vales Catarina Vales, Graduate Student

CV, webpage

Research Interests: Everyday learning takes place in a real environment that offers many potential targets for attention and learning, as well as changing momentary goals. How does the child select and stabilize attention for word learning? What role does word learning itself play in organizing a child's attention? My main goal is to study the developmental changes in attention to further investigate the role of the attentional processes in word learning, including object labels and adjectives.

Lisa Byrge Lisa Byrge, Graduate Student

Research Interests: My research interests focus on the role of different forms of activity - from physical behavior to evoked neural activity - in the development of functional and structural brain networks. I am interested in how these interactions between behavior and brain networks create change over multiple time scales, and contribute to differences and similarities between individuals.

Paulo Carvalho Paulo Carvalho, Graduate Student

CV, webpage

Research Interests: How did we learn what a spoon is and how it is different from a fork? Does it matter how many spoons we've seen, when we saw them and how different they were? Our environment is full of different objects. One way we use to make sense of this great amount of information is by grouping objects together into groups or categories. My research focuses on how different experiences with objects change how we group them and how this changes across development.

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Susan Jones, Indiana University

Chen Yu, Indiana University

Karin James, Indiana University

Michael Gasser, Indiana University

Kelly Mix, Michigan State University

Cynthia Breazeal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John Spencer, University of Iowa

Thea Ionescu, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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Former Students

Viridiana Benitez, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Lisa Cantrell, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis

Eliana Colunga, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder

Leonidas Doumas, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh

Lisa Gershkoff-Stowe, Associate Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University

Rima Hanania, Researcher, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University

Shohei Hidaka, Assistant Professor, School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Thomas Hills, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Steve Hockema, Senior Scientist and Partner, Aji, LLC

Hye-Won Hong, Professor, Psychology Department, California State University

Donald Katz, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology and Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University

Alan Kersten, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University

Megumi Kuwabara, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Indiana University

Josita Maouene, Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, Grand Valley State University

Teresa Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Alfredo Pereira, Adjunct Assistant Researcher, School of Psychology, Universidade do Minho, Portugal

Brigette Ryalls, Associate Professor, Psycholgy Department, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Larissa Samuelson, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa

Catherine Sandhofer, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Maria Sera, Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

Nitya Sethuraman, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

Adam Sheya, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Connecticut

Ji Son, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, California State University, Los Angeles

Sandra Street, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

Amanda Walley, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Hanako Yoshida, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Houston

Dan Yurovsky, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, California

Jennifer Lanter, Assistant Professor, Human Development & Psychology, University of Wisconsin at Green Bay

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