Principal Investigator

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

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, like scientists, actively exploring 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 exploring the many ways they learn about their world.

Charlene TayCharlene Tay, Project Manager

Research Interests: As a graduate student studying Data Science with the School of Informatics and Computing, I am interested in using data mining and machine learning techniques to investigate how children learn words from their active engagement with the world. When it comes to language acquisition, children are more sophisticated than the best computers. They can gain knowledge about objects by integrating information from themselves (see, hear, touch), or from a social partner (names, gestures, and actions). My current research studies the types of input that infants and toddlers receive to help them solve the word-learning problem of referential uncertainty in cluttered real life settings.

Swapnaa Jayaraman Swapnaa Jayaraman, Assistant Scientist

CV, webpage

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.

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.

Lauren Slone Lauren Slone, Postdoctoral Fellow


Research Interests: I am interested in mechanisms of perceptual and cognitive development in infancy and early childhood. My research investigates the structure of children's early environments and how children's visual, motor, and linguistic experiences help them learn about, and from, that structure. I am particularly interested in multisensory learning and in how children's individual learning histories affect their future learning. My research employs a variety of behavioral methods, including eye tracking, recording looking time, and analyzing naturalistic parent-infant interactions.

Lei Yuan Lei Yuan, Postdoctoral Fellow


Research Interests: Within a couple of years, children acquire a variety of human symbolic systems, such as language, number, mathematical symbols, maps and graphs. I am interested in the domain-general mechanisms that underlie this prodigious learning. I am currently investigating how exposure to the co-occurrence between number words and written numerals contributes to children's early number knowledge, and how children and parents coordinate their visual attention during play and word learning.

Catalina Suarez-Rivera Catalina Suarez-Rivera, Graduate Student


Research Interests: Language acquisition during infancy is the focus of my research. I am currently interested in studying the role that parents play in this process, by analyzing their "sensitive" behaviors during play sessions with their infants. Specifically, I examine the increased learning opportunities that take place during moments of parent-infant coordinated attention, establishing a link between caregiver sensitivity, joint attention and word learning.

Elizabeth Clerkin Elizabeth Clerkin, Graduate Student


Research Interests: I am interested in how young children learn object names, particularly how the visual statistics of children's everyday environments help them create mappings between visual objects and the words that refer to them. I am also interested in how skills such as visual processing, attention, and memory aid and impact word learning.

Hadar Karmazyn Hadar Karmazyn, Graduate Student


Research Interests: I am interested in understanding how children's visual processing relates to language development.

Christina DeSerio Christina DeSerio, Graduate Student

Research Interests: My research focuses on the typical and atypical development of vision and visual perception in infants and young children. My specific interests include the neural control of eye moments, early mechanisms of action in visual perception, and the development of cognitive systems to support learning. A further special point of interest is conducting visual perceptual, behavioral, and neurocognitive studies to evaluate the developmental origins of autism spectrum disorder.

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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 Byrge, Postdoctoral Fellow, Indiana University, Bloomington

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

Paulo Carvalho, Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University

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

Leonidas Doumas, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh

Caitlin Fausey, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon

John Franchak, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

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, Assistant Professor, Child Development, California State University, Dominguez Hills

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

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

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

Jessica Montag, Assistant Research Psychologist, University of California, Riverside

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

Richard Prather, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland

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

Catarina Vales, Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University

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

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