People

Julian Jara-Ettinger (cv)

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I am an assistant professor of Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Computer Science at Yale University. I am broadly interested in characterizing how we think and learn to the level of precision that is necessary to implement it on a machine. Check out our research page and our publications to learn more.

Madison Flowers

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I am the lab manager for the Computation and Cognitive Development lab. I graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Psychology and American Studies in May 2017. While my interests in developmental psychology are broad, I am very interested in the way that children think and learn to understand the people and world around them.

Rosie Aboody

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Anyone who has been subject to a four-year- old’s seemingly endless stream of “but why?” questions can attest to the remarkably inquisitive nature of the human species. Even in infancy and early childhood, we want to know how the world works, what makes it tick – and we seem strikingly motivated to help other people attain the same insight. While the ability to teach the right information, and learn from the right people seems crucial, it’s important to note that we never have a direct line of sight into others’ minds. Instead, we have to infer what others know by observing their behavior. How do we use these indirect cues to decide who to learn from, or what to teach? My research integrates behavioral and computational methods to explore these questions.

Michael Lopez-Brau

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People have the extraordinary ability to make vast inferences with little information. How do people learn to leverage these inferences as they navigate the social world? Can a machine be designed to learn how to leverage these inferences in the same manner? My research builds upon ideas from psychology and computer science, utilizing a blend of behavioral and computational methods, to answer these questions.

Emory Richardson

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How do we recognize lack of knowledge? In some cases, it’s easy: someone believes something that we know for a fact is false. But this kind of case is a minority. Most of the time, our beliefs have little or nothing more to recommend them than other people’s beliefs on the same topic. When we disagree about how to characterize the world, how do we recognize when (A) we might ourselves have false beliefs, (B) someone else is operating on a true belief that differs from your own, and (C) someone else has more information on a particular topic than they’ve shared?

Ryan Carlson

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Social life is replete with acts of kindness, and a range of motives can underlie these acts. How do perceivers discern whether a kind act was driven by concern for others' well-being (e.g., empathy), or by personal gain (e.g., praise or reciprocity)? A perceiver’s ability to parse such motives is useful for knowing who to trust and befriend (i.e., who is genuinely kind, and willing to support us in the long run?), but also for encouraging kindness in social life more broadly (i.e., who is most deserving of praise?). In my research, I use computational models, neuroimaging, and behavioral experiments to study how we make social inferences in this domain.

Amanda Royka

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Despite the incredibly complexity of the social world, humans are able to effortlessly reason about the thoughts and intentions of others. My research in the Computation and Cognitive Development Lab focuses on how we make sense of goals and intentions when confronted with seemingly inefficient actions.



Undergraduates

Annie Chen

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I'm a junior studying computer science and education. I'm interested in how computer models can be used to understand what people know, and how that can be applied to help education.

Ivana Bozic

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I am a first-year undergraduate intensely interested in child cognition. As an aspiring Cognitive Science major, I'm especially curious about the processes of language acquisition and belief acquisition in children.

Jimmy Shih

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Hello! I’m an undergraduate senior studying Computer Science and Psychology. I’m fascinated by the psychology behind decision making, and I’m particularly interested in exploring how the elements of trust and distrust factor into decision making models.

Katherine Hofmann

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I’m a junior studying Psychology and how it relates to Neuroscience. I am interested in looking into how the physical development of our brains is reflected in the growth of our social and intellectual pursuits.

Sam Fereidooni

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HI am a sophomore in Yale College double majoring in Computer Science and Psychology, and Linguistics. I am interested in the potential of Brain Machine Interfaces in the context of language processing disorders. As a result, I am curious about understanding how everything from symbols/abstract concepts to language is represented in the brain.

Rudd Fawcett

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I'm a first year undergraduate currently studying computer science and linguistics. I'm interested in studying language acquisition and retention in both adolescents and adults.

Caiqin Zhou

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I am a junior at Wellesley College, majoring in Psychology and Economics. I am interested in studying how children reason about the world and gaining insight into the origins of commonsense knowledge and fundamental principles of learning. I am also curious to learn how our understanding of children’s cognitive processes can help us improve AI systems.



Lab Alumni

Camila Rivera-Soto, Gemma Nicholson, Maria Maier, Victor Hunt, Breanna McBean, Ece Bozkurt, Liam Elkind.