Thomas Lab Members

Senior Lab Members

Ashley Thomas (she/her)
Assistant Professor
[email protected]

Ashley’s research is focused on how humans think about social relationships across development, answering broad questions such as “What is caregiving?” and “How do people think about social change?”. Check out Ashley’s website for more information about her work!

Denisse Lopez (she/her/ella)
Lab Manager
[email protected]

Denisse received her B.S. in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience from UC San Diego as a first-generation college student. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology to explore intergroup cognition and prejudice. Denisse is particularly interested in how children use race, accent, and status to explain social groups, relationships, identities, and inequality. In her free time, Denisse enjoys shooting film photography.

Emma Yu (she/her)
Lab Manager
[email protected]

Emma graduated from Boston University in 2023 with a B.A. in Psychology and is planning to pursue a PhD in the future in social cognitive development. Emma is particularly interested in how babies and young children think about emotions and mental states in close social relationships, as well as how they reason about expectations of fairness. Outside of the lab, Emma enjoys bullet journaling, crocheting, and tap dancing!

Ashley Leung
Postdoctoral Fellow
[email protected]

Ashley is a College Fellow in the lab, conducting research on the role of communication in infants’ early social cognition. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago, where she studied children’s communicative development, and the role that parents play in supporting children’s language learning.

Brandon Woo (he/him)
Postdoctoral Fellow
[email protected]

My research program asks how humans come to understand others’ actions and minds, particularly in social contexts. Through studies of infants and toddlers, my research aims to reveal our early-emerging knowledge of other people and to characterize the developmental foundations of human learning, cooperation, and social life more broadly. Outside of the lab, I like going on runs, trying out new restaurants, and baking and cooking with my friends.

Herrissa Lamothe
Associate Postdoctoral Fellow
[email protected]

I am a postdoctoral researcher at MIT working with Josh Tenenbaum and Laura Schulz. I previously completed my Ph.D. at Princeton University in Sociology. I am interested in social kinds, which include social categories (e.g. race, class, gender); and in social meanings which capture our symbolic hypotheses about the ways in which we are socially connected. I am also interested in developing a theory of central cognitionthat imports insights from the structure of our social concepts; and posits a computational model architecture for how the mind acquires its concepts and categories – including its social ones.

Christina Steele (she/her)
Graduate Student
[email protected]

Christina is a PhD student in the lab, conducting research on how children and infants’ perceptions of social groups influence their expectations about close social relationships. Christina graduated from the University of Oxford and University of Edinburgh as a Marshall Scholar with M.S. degrees in psychological research and social intervention. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania as a first-generation college student where she studied the intersection between intergroup and interpersonal relationships. She aims to understand how the human mind navigates the social world to fulfill our need for connection.

Mack Briscoe (they/them)
Graduate Student
[email protected]

Mack is interested in how children and infants identify, navigate and seek to change different kinds of groups and group structures. They are especially interested in how these abilities develop over time as the foundations of later political thought. Outside of the lab, they enjoy making music, painting and reading sci fi novels.

Summer Interns & RAs 2024

Kana Tsuruta (she/her)
Grinnell College ’25

I have always been passionate about working with children and understanding their incredible potential for growth as they navigate the complexities of the human social world. It fascinates me to think about how we all start as little children and develop into the individuals we are today. I am excited to dive deeper into the social and cognitive aspects of child development in the Thomas Lab. Additionally, I enjoy traveling and listening to music in my free time!

Min Feldman (she/her)
Ohio State University ’26

Broadly, I am interested in the mechanisms behind how children understand concepts of value, fairness, and group roles and relationships. I am particularly interested in the process of how young children form intuitions about social value and currency, and understanding how children assign value to social roles and shared objects in gameplay. Why are certain shared toys in the classroom considered more ‘high-value’ than others? Why is the role of ‘parent’ in a play game like House considered more high-value than the role of ‘pet’? I’d like to research these questions, as well as how they help children to form rudimentary economic theories. Outside of the lab, I love to read, volunteer, and I’m involved in my sorority!

Maya Hernandez (she/her)
Bucknell University ’25

Maya is currently going into her senior year of undergrad with a double major in Psychology and Education. Maya is hoping to pursue her PhD and is particularly interested in the racial identity development of young children and how different environments can affect the way they come to understand themselves. Her other areas of interest include parenting and children’s understandings of social groups. Maya loves reality tv, crocheting, and cooking!

Tiffany Agkpo (she/her)
Harvard College ’25

I’m a rising senior concentrating in Psychology with a secondary in Theater, Dance & Media. I’m interested in the various ways caregiving relationships influence children and adolescents. I’m also fascinated in the ways cultural context can impact children’s understanding of intimacy. Outside of research, I plan concerts at Harvard and sound engineer for live productions! For fun, I love to write, read, and visit botanical gardens.

Juliet Leyva (she/her)
California State University, Fullerton ’24

Juliet is a recent graduate from her home institution where she majored in Kinesiology with a Clinical Movement Science concentration and a minor in Chicano studies. She is planning to pursue her master’s and soon after her PhD. Her areas of research interest include looking at how infants and children see and understand the world, how socioeconomic status affects the physical, mental development, and psychological states, as well as the impact of culture and race on a child’s overall development (physical & mental such as formation of relationships & social group). Outside of the lab, Juliet enjoys reading, listening to jazz music, a nice cup of matcha, and staying active!

Charlston Stovall (he/they)
Pomona College ’25

Charlston is a senior at Pomona College studying Psychological Science with a minor in Africana Studies. Charlston aims to earn his PhD in Social Psychology with the hopes to answer questions about how children and adults navigate the social world. His research interests pertain to many topics in social and cultural psychology such as how stereotypes might become salient across development, group dynamics, and how the aspect of culture may influence behavior and cognition. For fun Charlston enjoys working out, reading, and binge watching TV-shows!

Research Assistants

Mia Taylor
Harvard College ’24

Andrea Ventura
Boston University ’24

Andrea is an RA in the lab, where she helps conduct research on infants’ and toddlers’ reasoning about social relationships. Andrea graduated from Boston University with a BA in International Relations, and is currently pursing an MA/EdS in School Psychology at Tufts University. In her free time, Andrea enjoys weight training, watching basketball, and playing the guitar.

Megan Richardson (she/her)
Post-Bacc RA

Megan has received her B.S. in Psychology from Trevecca Nazarene University and her Ed.M. in Human Development and Education from Harvard GSE. She is broadly interested in ethnic and racial identity development in children and adolescents and how social capital within families and communities can serve as a protective factor (i.e. against discrimination) and a promotive factor (i.e. for self-esteem). She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in the near future.

Nami Enkhbat
Class of 2025

Cecilia Wang
GSE Master’s Student ’24

Haowei Peng (she/her)
GSE Master’s Student ’24

I recently received my Ed.M. in Human Development and Education from Harvard GSE. I’m interested in understanding how individuals develop their cognition of self, emotion, and social relationships within the contexts of daily interactions involving their close others, especially caregivers. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading, cooking, and watching all kinds of movies & TV shows!

Shu Xin Ho (she/her)
Class of 2027

Lab Alumni

Kaitlyn Tsai
Class of 2024

Leticia Sefia
Class of 2024

Azwayla Taylor
Class of 2024