Lab Directors

46
November 18, 2014

Lauren Emberson
Co-Director

Ph.D., 2011,  Cornell University

Dr. Lauren Emberson investigates how experience supports learning and early development.  She focuses on the development of perceptual abilities like vision, audition and multisensory perception (e.g., audiovisual perception): These systems provide crucial information for all other cognitive systems (e.g., language comprehension, face recognition).  Dr. Emberson's studies often use neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, fNIRS) which give researchers a peek into how the infant brain changes as they learn and develop.  In addition to being the co-director of the Princeton Baby Lab, Dr. Emberson is the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Perception, Learning and Development.   

laurenle@princeton.edu
47
November 24, 2014

Casey Lew-Williams
Co-Director

Ph.D., 2009, Stanford University

Dr. Casey Lew-Williams investigates how babies learn language. He is interested in several key ideas: that babies are capable of learning complex patterns, that toddlers can efficiently process what their parents say, that language experience shapes learning, and that some children learn more easily than others. He studies diverse populations — including children learning two languages and children growing up in poverty — to ask questions about the foundations and high-stakes consequences of early learning. Studies usually involve listening to language and looking at short videos, and we measure eye movements as a window into learning.

caseylw@princeton.edu

Postdoctoral Researchers

173
September 12, 2016
by Carolyn Mazzei

Sagi Jaffe-Dax
Post-doc

B.A., 2009, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Ph.D., 2016, Hebrew University of Jersualem, Israel

Sagi is interested in how infants learn to predict upcoming events and perceive them efficiently. To reveal the underlying mechanism of these processes, Sagi uses both behavioral, computational and neuro-imaging approaches. Out of the lab, Sagi learns from his two kids how to make the most fun of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of familiarizing the world.

jaffedax@princeton.edu
127
June 1, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Elise Piazza
Post-doc

B.A., 2009, Williams College

Ph.D., 2015, University of California, Berkeley

Elise is interested in how our brains extract crucial patterns from complex sounds to facilitate communication, especially in the context of early language learning and musical performance. Her dissertation research investigated efficient mechanisms for understanding complex auditory patterns, including statistical learning, statistical summary (i.e., “gist” processing), and adaptation. In addition to playing various musical instruments and strategy board games, Elise enjoys eating good food in faraway places.

epiazza@princeton.edu
172
September 12, 2016
by Carolyn Mazzei

Christine Potter
Post-doc

B.A., 2008, Stanford University

Ph.D., 2016, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chris is interested in how past experiences shape future learning. Her research focuses on how people of different ages, from very young infants up to adults, learn new languages, and why some learners are more successful than others. She explores how both characteristics of the individual, such as age, prior knowledge, and memory skills, as well as properties of the input can change the kinds of information that learners are most likely to perceive and acquire. Outside the lab, she enjoys traveling, the beach, and coaching kids’ soccer.

cepotter@princeton.edu
197
February 11, 2017
by Carolyn Mazzei

Gabriel (Naiqi) Xiao
Post-doc
B.A., 2007, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, China

Ph.D., 2015, University of Toronto, Canada

Gabriel (Naiqi) is interested in how experience shapes early development of human perception and cognition. His previous studies focused on face processing in infants, children, adolescents, and adults by using behavioral and eye tracking techniques. Recently, he started studies on the development of perceptual learning abilities in full-term and preterm neonates with neuroimaging techniques. When Gabriel is tired of working, he would choose to cook, take photos, enjoy classical music, and/or talk to his computers, which is fun! 

naiqi.xiao@princeton.edu

Research Staff

86
May 12, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Carolyn Mazzei
Lab Manager - Dr. Emberson

 B.S., BA, 2014, University of Delaware

Carolyn Mazzei received her B.S. in Cognitive Science and B.A. in Psychology from University of Delaware. With University of Delaware’s Child’s Play Learning and Development Lab, Carolyn studied how variations in caregiver verbal input influence infants’ vocabularies at the onset of walking. She is interested in further establishing baselines of infant cognitive development in order to create interventions for at risk populations. In her time outside the lab, Carolyn enjoys taking trips and playing frisbee. 

cmazzei@princeton.edu
167
July 6, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Eva Fourakis
Lab Manager - Dr. Lew-Williams

B.A., 2016, Williams College

Eva Fourakis received her B.A. in Psychology and Mathematics from Williams College. Her research in the Implicit Cognition and Evaluation lab at Williams focused on the formation and change of implicit attitudes. With regards to language development, Eva is interested in the effects of bilingualism and language setting on behavior and performance in tasks. In her free time, she likes to watch and play sports, quilt, and eat good food.

fourakis@princeton.edu
142
September 4, 2015
by Carolyn Mazzei

Alex Boldin
Research Specialist

B.A., 2015, Macalester College

Alex Boldin received her B.A. in Physics and Mathematics from Macalester College. Her past research experience has been in different areas of applied physics. She is excited to jump into a new field and apply her physics background to the interesting questions of infant development. When she is not working, Alex likes to crochet and play rugby.

 

 

aboldin@princeton.edu

Graduate Students

184
October 19, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Sammy Floyd
Ph.D. Student

B.A., 2014, Smith College  

Sammy is interested in the cognitive, social, and developmental origins of word meaning, pragmatics, and grammatical structure. Her current projects focus on how world knowledge and contrast can help children learn the meaning of difficult concepts and their contexts, and how communicative motivations can give rise to complex, implicit knowledge of grammar in adults. Sammy previously worked with Jill de Villiers at Smith College and later managed the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab. She enjoys running long distances, learning about current events and social justice, and hearing and reading other people's poetry. 

 

49
November 24, 2014

Jessie Schwab
Ph.D. Student

B.A., 2012, Georgetown University

M.A., 2014, Northwestern University

Jessie is interested in how differences in infants' and toddlers' language environments can lead to variability in learning and developmental outcomes. She is currently studying how specific features of caregivers' speech in the context of labeling objects can enhance early word learning. For example, does repeating words in neighboring sentences boost learning, or is it more effective to hear object labels distributed over time? Outside of lab, you can find Jessie at Forbes College planning study breaks as a Resident Graduate Student, teaching classes with the Prison Teaching Initiative, or playing board games with friends.

jschwab@princeton.edu
83
May 11, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Tracy Reuter
Ph.D. Student

B.A., 2011, University of Wisconsin-Madison  

Tracy is interested in how neurological systems support language learning and processing, and how these systems are shaped by experience. To better understand language and cognitive development, her research includes infants, children, and adults. When she is not in the lab, she can be found mountaineering or relaxing with a novel. 

 

treuter@princeton.edu
82
May 8, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Felicia Zhang
Ph.D. Student

Honors B.S., 2014, University of Toronto

Felicia is interested in how infants and children perceive objects and how experience can influence perception. More specifically, how do young children view novel objects composed of different features? How do multiple exposures to this novel object change their perception and what do they learn from such exposures? In her spare time she likes to practice yoga, run, update her Tumblr blog, explore new places and find new places to eat! 

 

yz6@princeton.edu

Undergraduates

174
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Catherine Babiec
Senior Thesis Student

Catherine Babiec (Class of 2017) is from Alexandria, VA. She's pursuing a degree in Psychology with a certificate in Linguistics. She's always enjoyed working with children, and since coming to Princeton has become more interested in how language can affect development. A member of the varsity open rowing team, Catherine spends most of her downtime hanging out with friends, baking, and trying to keep up with social media. 

175
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Gaby Barber
Senior Thesis Student

Gaby Barber (Class of 2017) is a psychology major pursuing a certificate in neuroscience from Clermont, Florida.  She is interested in developmental psychology, language development, and its interaction with the brain. On campus, Gaby is a project leader for Contact, a volunteer organization that answers calls for the local crisis hotline in Princeton as well as the national suicide hotline. She also spends her time tutoring middle school students and working as a student supervisor in Firestone Library. Outside of the lab, she is a professional Netflixer and loves to travel. 

168
August 12, 2016
by Carolyn Mazzei

Natasha Dombrowski
Senior Thesis Student

Natasha (Class of 2017) is a psychology major receiving a certificate in neuroscience. From Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Natasha is interested in how infants' perception develops and what we can do to manipulate their perceptual abilities. She plans to use her experience in the Princeton Baby Laboratory in her pursuit of a career in pediatrics. Outside of the lab, Natasha plays lacrosse and horseback rides on Princeton's club lacrosse and equestrian teams. She supervises intramural sports for Campus Recreation and welcomes visitors to Princeton's campus as an Orange Key Tour Guide. In her free time, Natasha enjoys baking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. 

171
August 29, 2016
by Carolyn Mazzei

Ann Lites
Senior Thesis Student

Ann Lites (Class of 2017) is a Psychology major from Huntington, NY. Her interest in developmental psychology began with her membership in Big Brother/Big Sister in High School and later at college. She is particularly interested in exploring certain perceptual biases amongst children and how they proliferate to adulthood. Outside of academic work, she enjoys teaching and playing piano and is an active member in Princeton’s Association of Black Women. 

166
June 7, 2016
by Carolyn Mazzei

Nicole Loncar
Senior Thesis Student

Nicole Loncar (Class of 2017) is a psychology major from Brampton, Ontario.  As the oldest of three sisters, she has always loved playing and taking care of children of all ages.  Nicole is very eager to combine these two pursuits at the Princeton Baby Laboratory.  In particular, she is interested at exploring how a child's specific experiences can shape their development.  Outside of the lab and classroom, Nicole is a member of the varsity women's soccer team and volunteers with the Tiger TAILS program.  She loves to have picnics, pretend to know how to dance, and explore new places.

80
May 7, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Julia Schorn
Senior Thesis Student

Julia Marie Schorn (Class of 2017) is a psychology major with a special interest in developmental and cognitive psychology. She enjoys working with children and is thrilled to work in a research lab that focuses on improving the developmental outcomes of children. As a musician, Julia is intrigued by the potential of music to enhance learning, language, and cognition. Julia is a harpist in the Princeton University Orchestra and active in the Princeton Music in Mind club. Her other activities include volunteer work for Tiger TAILS tending to animals in local shelters and writing for the Princeton Advertise This club.

183
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Yasmin AlKhowaiter
Research Assistant

Yasmin AlKhowaiter (Class of 2020) is from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia. Yasmin plans on majoring in either economics or computer science with a certificate in cognitive science. She is interested in studying how children learn and switch between multiple languages growing up. In her free time, Yasmin likes to read, spend time with her family, and watch TV shows.

159
February 24, 2016
by Maritza Gomez

Jean Bellamy
Research Assistant

Jean Bellamy (Class of 2019) is originally from Hillsborough, North Carolina where she grew up surrounded by animals and books. She is interested in studying how the achievement gap develops in children as well as studying the socioeconomic factors involved in language acquisition. She is a prospective psychology major with potential certificates in Neuroscience and French Language. After Princeton she plans to go to medical school in hopes of becoming a Psychiatrist. Outside of the lab and class, she helps organize events for Pride Board, rides with the Equestrian Team, and sings. 

193
January 18, 2017
by Eva Fourakis

Ariella Cohen
Research Assistant

Ariella Cohen (Class of 2019) is a neuroscience major from Irvine, California. Her experience working with children inspired her interests in child development and studying how early learning and development can predict children's outcomes. On campus, Ariella is a Peer Health Advisor, serves on the Premedical Society, and plays the mellophone with the Princeton University Band. In her free time, she enjoys baking, listening to Spanish music, and drinking tea.

181
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Rachel Cooper
Research Assistant

Rachel Cooper (Class of 2019) grew up in Baltimore, MD (with stops in Tennessee, Nebraska, and Connecticut). Rachel plans to concentrate in Economics or Psychology, with a certificate in Visual Arts. Interested in film and animation, she is passionate about the role of media in child development and its potential as a tool or detriment to learning. Rachel spends her free time producing and editing student films, working as an Orange Key tour guide, and cracking jokes as a member of Lobster Club Improv Comedy. She also loves to dance, play volleyball, sound design for theater productions, and is learning to play mellophone in the Princeton University Band! 

158
February 15, 2016
by Maritza Gomez

Maia Craver
Research Assistant

Maia Craver (Class of 2018) is a psychology major from Irvine, California. She is particularly interested in how psychology interacts with public health and education. Outside of the classroom, she is a member of the varsity track and field team and works in Career Services. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching movies and traveling.

182
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Hila Ghersin
Research Assistant

Hila Ghersin (Class of 2018) is a psychology concentrator from the sunny state of Florida. She is especially interested in how babies magically acquire language and perceptual skills, and how children's upbringing and early childhood events continue to affect them as they grow older. She is hoping to combine her interests in psychology with medicine and global health policy. On campus you'll probably see Hila walking backwards while giving campus tours for Orange Key, eating Ricotta Pistachio ice cream at Bent Spoon, reading in Holder courtyard, or watching Netflix in her room. Some of her favorite things are traveling, segway tours, cats, and meeting new people! 

149
October 20, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Kat Giordano
Research Assistant

Kat Giordano (Class of 2018) grew up in Mendham, New Jersey putting on impromptu musicals and talking nonstop (no wonder she is interested in children's language acquisition). Kat is a passionate psychology major pursuing certificates in teacher preparation and musical theater. When not in class or the lab, you can find Kat under Princeton's arches singing with the University's fiercest all female a cappella group, The Wildcats, or on stage performing with the Princeton Triangle Club. 

176
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Charlotte Jeppsen
Research Assistant

Charlotte Jeppsen (Class of 2018) loves all aspects of developmental research. She is specifically interested in studying the behavior, cognitions, and perceptions of children with developmental disabilities, and how music could be a form of cognitive treatment for these children. She is a Psychology major pursuing certificates in Cognitive Science and in Musical Performance. Outside of the lab, she sings in her a cappella group, Shere Khan, the Glee Club, and the Jazz Vocal Collective. When she has free time, Charlotte loves to hike, cook food, and listen to Discover Weekly playlists or anything on Spotify. 

178
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Jonece Layne
Research Assistant

Jonece Layne (Class of 2017) is an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Major from Beltsville, MD. Her interest in psychology stems from her fascination with people and what makes them do what they do. After taking an intro psychology class and working in an elementary school for a semester, she joined the Baby Lab to continue on the path to becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist. Outside of academics she spends most of her time dancing with the Black Arts Company: Dance and tutoring/mentoring elementary-high school students. 

169
August 12, 2016
by Carolyn Mazzei

Brandon Lanchang
Research Assistant

Brandon Lanchang (Class of 2018) grew up in Mount Ephraim, New Jersey. He is a computer science major with a prospective neuroscience certificate and is interested in how both fields can be related. When not in the classroom or the lab, Brandon works as a student technology consultant for Princeton University and an assistant leader for the Princeton Engineers Without Borders Chapter. He also enjoys running, creative writing, and frisbee.

150
October 20, 2015
by Maritza Gomez

Naoum Fares Marayati
Research Assistant

Naoum Fares Marayati (Class of 2019) is originally from Syria and lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is interested in the study of multilingualism and the effects of immediate geographical displacement on language learning in children, having experienced that himself with Arabic, French, and English.  Fares plans on concentrating in Psychology with a certificate in either Neuroscience or Cognitive Science. After graduating, Fares plans to attend Medical School in hopes of pursuing his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. When he is not in the library, Fares enjoys photographing new places, attempting tennis, going on bike rides, and playing violin.

157
February 11, 2016
by Maritza Gomez

Jessica Quinter
Research Assistant

Jessica Quinter (Class of 2018) is a concentrator in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, with a certificate in Values and Public Life.  She is particularly interested in studying the intersection of cognitive development research and education policy.  Outside of the classroom, Jessica is Executive Director of Fuzzy Dice Improv Comedy and Chief of Staff of the Pre-Law Society.  Jessica also tutors Calculus II and Microeconomics at the McGraw Center.  In her free time, she loves to ride her bike and try to bake. 

179
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Sarah Reid
Research Assistant

Sarah Reid (Class of 2018) is originally from Belmont, California and is a psychology major with a potential Italian certificate. She is interested in looking at education from a psychological perspective, especially in the areas of development, learning, and language acquisition. Outside of class, Sarah does tech theater with Theatre Intime and sings with the Princeton Trego Singers. In her free time, she loves to hike, rock climb, or curl up with a good book.

177
October 14, 2016
by Eva Fourakis

Nitasha Siddique
Research Assistant

Nitasha Siddique (Class of 2018) grew up in Queens, NY and is a Psychology major pursuing certificates in Global Health and Neuroscience. She's interested in clinical neuropsychology, counseling psychology, and palliative care because she loves working with people to understand where they're coming from and how to approach emerging challenges in their lives, whether a chronic illness or changes in the brain. She is excited to learn more about how children learn to navigate the world and spend time channeling her inner child! Nitasha works closely with the Office of Religious Life and is a leader in the Muslim Students Association and Student Volunteers Council with the Pace Center. In her spare time, Nitasha is often singing her favorite Disney songs or getting lost in some magical world in a book.