School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts
Social Sciences and Management Building 310B
Office Phone: (209) 228-4362
As members of a social species, we spend much of our everyday lives predicting, interpreting, and responding to the nonverbal and verbal behavior of other individuals. I am interested in the development of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie these abilities. Specifically, I conduct two interrelated lines of research focusing on children in the first four years of life. One line of research investigates the development of psychological reasoning, the ability to interpret the behavior of agents in terms of their underlying mental states. The majority of my research in this domain has focused on children’s ability to understand that agents can hold and act on false beliefs. My other line of research examines early language acquisition. Whenever children encounter a new word, the referential scene offers many potential interpretations. My work investigates how children resolve this residual ambiguity, focusing on the possibility that children refine their interpretation of a word by integrating information across multiple information sources and observations.
I am currently a candidate for a PhD in Developmental Psychology. In 2012, I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. Following graduation, I worked at the Central California Autism Center as a behavior therapist for children with autism. In 2015, I received my M.A. in Psychological Sciences at the University of California Merced. My program of research examines the origins and nature of stereotyping and prejudice in infancy, the features that infants expect social groups to share, and possible environmental influences on early social-group reasoning.
My primary research interest is language acquisition especially as it applies children’s early word learning. My current research focuses on how perceptual, social, and linguistic information sources impacts children’s cross-situational word learning.
Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, 2017, University of California Merced
Current Position: Post-doctoral researcher at NYU.
Broadly, my research investigates the factors that contribute to social cognitive development across the lifespan. More specifically, my research focuses on how particular social experiences, such as hearing and using mental-state language, relate to false-belief understanding. I am particularly interested in examining these relationships during the first years of life, and also during adulthood. In future work, I plan to broaden the focus of my research to examine how other social contexts relate to social cognitive development, and how the relationship between social experiences and false-belief understanding might vary across income level, culture, and language background.