Nancy SojaLab Manager
Debbie Zaitchik-SametResearch Fellow
Many patients with Alzheimer’s disease – and even some healthy elderly – demonstrate conceptual errors that are characteristic of healthy preschool children (saying, for example, that the sun or the wind is alive). At Massachusetts General Hospital (Psychiatry/Gerontology), I investigate the mechanisms underlying these phenomena in adults, while running parallel studies with young children at Harvard. In both sets of studies, I focus on the effect of individual differences in Executive Function on the acquisition and loss of conceptual understanding.
Peggy LiResearch Fellow
My central research interest concerns elucidating the relationship between language and cognitive development - How does the emergence of various linguistic expressions in a child's language depend on the child's growing conceptual capacity? Conversely, in what ways does language acquisition itself make certain concepts more saliently available for problem solving? Furthermore, how might language play a role in the creation of new representational structures?
Brian LeahyGraduate Student
When do children correctly distinguish the possible from the impossible? Do children represent possibilities the same way adults do? How does their understanding of possibility relate to their understanding of probability? We must be sensitive to possibility and probability to navigate a world of uncertainty. My research uses psychological, philosophical, and linguistic methods to explore how these concepts develop.
Yiqiao WangGraduate Student
My research interest is in the origin and early development of human mathematical knowledge. I'm interested in how young children acquire number concepts, how they learn the meanings of number words, and how natural language may foster the development of their number concepts.