Ph.D. Stanford University
How do young children learn from the dynamics of their communicative environments? From the beginning of life, infants spend a lot of time interacting with their caregivers, and their experiences across milliseconds and years add up to something big: active and rewarding participation in their own local community. Scientists can barely figure out how this complicated story unfolds, but it rests on basic cognitive and social capacities, such as attention, pattern detection, prediction, and memory.
In the Princeton Baby Lab, we use a combination of experimental, descriptive, computational, and social neuroscience approaches to understand how everyday experiences shape learning. Lab members usually study language learning and communication, whether in typical learners, children facing adversity, or children growing up bilingual. We do so by measuring the natural complexities of eye movements, infant-directed speech, multimodal interactions, and infant-adult neural synchrony. We’re lucky to work in a field that naturally combines theory and application, where ideas about early learning can translate into ideas about helping children thrive in ways that matter to their community.