Lab Directors

46
November 18, 2014

Lauren Emberson
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
Director

Ph.D., 2009, Stanford University

 

Dr. Casey Lew-Williams studies how babies learn, with a particular focus on language. He is interested in how babies learn and generalize patterns, how toddlers efficiently process what their parents say, how home language experience shapes learning, and why some children learn more easily than others. He studies various 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.

 

caseylw@princeton.edu

Research Staff

230
July 31, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Juliana Trach Baby Juliana Trach

Juliana Trach
Lab Manager - Dr Lew-Williams

ScB, 2018, Brown University
Juliana completed her ScB in Cognitive Neuroscience at Brown University. At Brown, she worked with Dr. Theresa Desrochers studying sequential processing and cognitive control. Juliana's senior thesis work studied the effect of practice and embedded motor sequences on the execution of abstract task sequences. After doing research with adults at Brown, Juliana is excited to shift gears and work with kids in the Baby Lab! Outside of lab, Juliana enjoys watching soccer, singing and playing the piano, and finding great places to eat.

jtrach@princeton.edu
229
July 26, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Kachina Allen - headshot Kachina Allen as a child wearing flowers

Kachina Allen
Lab Manager - Dr. Emberson

B.Sc.(Hons) 1998 Macquarie University, Australia

Ph.D. 2008 University of Sydney, Australia

Kachina has more than 10 years of experience in psychology and neuroscience research, particularly in fMRI. Prior research interests have included language processing and male orgasm. This is her first foray into developmental research. She is passionate about science and science communication. 

kachinaa@princeton.edu
203
June 22, 2017
by Juliana Trach

Claire Robertson
Research Specialist

B.A., 2017, Kenyon College

Claire received her B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College. While at Kenyon, Claire studied conscious and unconscious face perception using EEG in the Kenyon Psychology and Neuroscience Lab under Dr. Andrew Engell. Claire is excited to contribute her psychology background and neuroscience research experience toward the study of infant development. Outside of lab, Claire enjoys trying new recipes, reading science fiction, and visiting as many beaches as possible.

claire.robertson@princeton.edu
231
August 2, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Evelyn Perez Evelyn Perez as a small child counting cookies

Evelyn Perez
Research Specialist
M.A., 2018, Kean University
B.A., 2012 Kean University
Evelyn received her B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Kean University. While at Kean, Evelyn focused her research on how culture differences influence different aspects of psychology such as learning and development. Recently, Evelyn has been able to apply what she learned to her work in the baby lab and plans to further her education and acquire a Ph.D in psychology in the near future. In her free time, Evelyn enjoys learning new recipes, traveling, and playing the cello. 
238
September 24, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Ben Zinzser Ben as a baby

Benjamin Zinszer
Research Specialist

Ph.D., 2014, Penn State University
Ben is interested in linguistic categories, neural semantic representations, and the development of these structures in monolingual and bilingual learners. This research includes methodological work decoding multiple neuroimaging signals (fNIRS, fMRI, EEG) with computational linguistic models in English and in Mandarin Chinese. Both depicted versions of Ben would attest to the same favorite activities: learning language, eating, and playing outside.

Affiliated Faculty

235
September 13, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Tania as a small child

Tania Lombrozo
Affiliated Faculty Member

Dr. Tania Lombrozo investigates how young children and adults learn and reason about the world, using the conceptual tools of analytic philosophy and the empirical tools of experimental psychology. Current research in her lab focuses on questions such as: Why are we so motivated to explain the social and physical world around us? What prompts us to seek explanations, and what are the effects of explanation-seeking on subsequent learning? How do our intuitive theories about the world shape the way we learn and make decisions? She received Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy and Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and PhD in Psychology from Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty of Princeton University in 2018, she was a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to being an affiliate of the BabyLab, Prof. Lombrozo directs the Concepts and Cognition Lab

lombrozo@princeton.edu
236
September 13, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Current photo of Adele Adele as a child

Adele Goldberg
Affiliated Faculty Member

Ph.D., 1992, UC Berkeley
Adele Goldberg has been a professor of psychology and linguistics at Princeton University since 2004.  Her research emphasizes the role of a learned network of pairings of form and function constructions in language.  Her work has focused on the role of statistical and functional factors in an effort to explain our creative but constrained use of language in typical and atypical populations, and in child and adult learners. She is the author of Constructions: a construction grammar approach to argument structure (1995) Constructions at Work: the nature of generalization in language (2006) Explain me this: creativity, competition and the partial productivity of constructions

adele@princeton.edu
233
September 7, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Uri Hasson

Uri Hasson
Affiliated Faculty Member

Uri Hasson grew up in Jerusalem. As an undergrad he studied philosophy and cognitive sciences at the Hebrew University. He completed his Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and was a postdoctoral fellow at NYU before moving to Princeton. He is currently a Professor in the Psychology Department and the Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. His research program aims to understand the emergence of face-to-face, brain-to-brain, social interaction, with a focus on verbal communication and storytelling in real-life contexts.

hasson@princeton.edu

Postdoctoral Researchers

173
September 12, 2016
by Juliana Trach

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 Juliana Trach

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 Juliana Trach

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

Graduate Students

184
October 19, 2016
by Kachina Allen

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. 

 

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
245
October 22, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Mira Nencheva Mira Nencheva when young

Mira Nencheva
Ph.D. Student

B.S., 2016, Stanford
Mira is interested in the role of the social cues surrounding language and communication early in life, such as facial expressions and prosody. She is especially excited to explore the different time-scales at which these cues act - from subsecond moments in a single interaction, to the accumulating statistical information over longer periods of time. Outside of the lab, Mira can be found on long morning walks, painting or trying to find every single jazz concert in the area.

234
September 12, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Sori Baek (current photo) Sori Baek (baby photo)

Sori Baek
Ph.D. Student

B.S. University of Minnesota 
Sori, (pronounced like "sorry" in a Canadian accent) received her B.S. in Psychology in University of Minnesota. Sori is excited to use fNIRS to investigate the mechanisms through which babies use their experiences to engage in top-down processing on visual perception. She is most interested in exploring functional connectivity in the infant brain to understand the inception and early development of complex functional networks. In her spare time Sori likes to attempt to cook Korean-American fusion cuisine using cool new kitchen gadgets, sample exotically flavored potato and non-potato chips, collect stationary and stickers, talk to strangers, and take naps. 

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

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. 

213
September 15, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Ellie Breitfeld
Research Assistant

Ellie Breitfeld (class of 2020) grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, inspiring her love of college basketball and barbeque. She is a prospective psychology major with potential certificates in neuroscience and linguistics. She is particularly interested in studying how psychology research on language development relates to education policy. In addition to working with the Baby Lab, Ellie is a correspondent for Princeton’s undergraduate research blog (PCUR), a member of running club, and a photographer for Princeton’s chapter of Spoon University. 

216
September 28, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Mariesa Cay
Research Assistant

Mariesa Cay (Class of 2020) is from Ewing, New Jersey. She is a prospective psychology major on a pre-med track and she wants to be a pediatric neurologist. Her love of both the brain and children stemmed from her involvement with Special Olympics New Jersey in high school. Outside of the classroom, Mariesa is a math tutor for local high school students, a photographer and editor for Spoon University, and member of both the club field hockey and club lacrosse teams. 

220
October 2, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Nourhan Ibrahim
Research Assistant

Nourhan Ibrahim (Class of 2020) grew up in Parsippany, NJ and is a prospective EEB major with certificates in Spanish and Global Health Policy. She’s interested in language development in children, as well as healthcare access both domestically and abroad. On campus, she’s involved with the Pace Center through SVC and Breakout, a board member for the Muslim Students Association, and a member of SIFP. She enjoys reading, writing, and watching movies in her free time! After Princeton, she hopes to become a pediatric oncologist and continue working with children. 

240
September 26, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Kennedy Casey headshot Kennedy as a young child

Kennedy Casey
Research Assistant

Kennedy Casey (Class of 2021) is a prospective Neuroscience major and pre-med student from Marietta, GA. She absolutely loves working with children and is especially interested in developmental disorders and the impact of early childhood experiences on developmental outcomes. On campus, Kennedy is a board member for Princeton Disability Awareness, she works with Special Olympics New Jersey, and she is involved with the Princeton Quest Scholars Network and SIFP.

214
September 28, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Fleming Peck
Research Assistant

Fleming Peck (Class of 2020) is from San Francisco, California and plans to concentrate in neuroscience with a certificate in cognitive science. She loves working with children and is especially fascinated by developmental disorders and brain imaging methods. She is interested in pursuing a research career focusing on cognitive developmental neuroscience and psychology. Outside of the lab, she is involved with the Princeton Undergraduate Student Journal as a Peer Review board member and with brainLENS, an educational neuroscience lab at UCSF. 

219
September 29, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Richard Peng
Research Assistant

Richard Peng (Class of 2020) spent the majority of his formative years in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. As a prospective psychology major, everything about people fascinates him. It's no wonder that he spends all his time getting to know them in real life through volunteering for crisis hotlines and in fiction through theater! Outside of psychology, Richard's hobbies are music and acting, and he is a proud member of the Princeton Triangle Club. 

241
September 30, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Cierra Moore Cierra as a child

Cierra Moore
Research Assistant

Cierra Moore (Class of 2021) is from Trenton, New Jersey, just a hop, skip, and a jump, away from her current university. She is a prospective psychology major with a Spanish certificate, and currently plans to attend medical school after undergrad to pursue a career in psychiatry. On her quest to becoming bilingual and mastering the Spanish language, she has been fascinated by the psychology of multilingualism, and how language affects our personalities and perceptions of the world. When she is not working hard in class or in the lab, she enjoys being a volunteer for CONTACT, tutoring for Petey Greene, or spending time (and money) at Wawa.

215
September 28, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Ella Whitfield
Research Assistant

Ella Whitfield (Class of 2021) is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is planning to major in Psychology with a certificate in neuroscience. She is interested in studying how children learn from each other and from their environment. During the summer, she is a kindergarten camp counselor. Outside of class, Ella is an Army ROTC cadet, a member of the running club, and enjoys creative writing and pottery. 

237
September 18, 2018
by Kachina Allen
Jack Kilgallon - current picture Jack as a baby

Jack Kilgallon
Research Assistant

Jack Kilgallon (Class of 2020) is from Bedford, New York. He is a History of Science major on the Pre-Med track, and he is interested pursuing a career in pediatric neurosurgery. His interest in working with children grew from his involvement in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program in high school, and he has always been fascinated by the brain. Aside from the Baby Lab, on campus Jack is a member of the Club Rugby team and enjoys cooking whenever he can.

Senior Honors Students

210
September 12, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Alice Wang
Senior Thesis Student

Alice Wang (Class of 2019), from Palo Alto, California, is currently concentrating in psychology with a visual arts certificate. She is interested in the role education plays in child development, specifically regarding how visual and acoustic stimuli influence learning. In her spare time, Alice can be found (break)dancing with Sympoh, writing old-fashioned letters, or naming inanimate objects. 

201
May 15, 2017
by Juliana Trach

Fernanda Fernandez
Senior Thesis Student

Fernanda Fernandez (Class of 2019) is a neuroscience major from Rutherford, New Jersey. She loves taking care of and working with children. Coming from a bilingual family, she is really interested in bilingualism and how knowing two languages affects children’s cognitive development. Outside of the lab, She is an EMT for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad in town, a tutor at McGraw, a Peer Academic Advisor for Rocky College, and a member of SIFP. In her free time, she loves going on runs, playing guitar, or spending time with friends. After Princeton, she plans to attend medical school and become a physician. 

209
September 12, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Alexia Hernandez
Research Assistant

Alexia Hernandez (Class of 2019) is a linguistic major from Weybridge, VT. She speaks Spanish and Italian and has studied Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. Apart from the Baby Lab, Alexia helps out as an observing assistant for Astronomy 205 (Planets in the Universe), and is captain of the Women's Club Lacrosse Team. 

193
January 18, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Ariella Cohen
Senior Thesis Student

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 Kachina Allen

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! 

221
October 13, 2017
by Kachina Allen

Diana Ortiz
Research Assistant

Diana Ortiz (Class of 2019) is a psychology major and pre-med student from Winter Haven, Florida. She is interested in studying how bilingualism affects learning patterns and social interactions between children. After she graduates, she hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor to provide health services in disadvantaged communities. Outside of the Baby lab, she serves as the Co-president of GlobeMed at Princeton, an Advising Fellow for the Matriculate Program and Scholar of SIFP. In her spare time, she loves to cook, travel to new cities and hang out with friends. 

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 impact multiple language processing on perception and development, having experienced that himself with Arabic, French, and English.  Fares is concentrating in Psychology with certificates in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. After graduating, Fares plans to attend Medical School in hopes of pursuing his dream of becoming a pediatric surgeon. Fares is a Residential College Adviser in Forbes College, a tutor at the McGraw Center, and a Tour Guide at the University Art Museum.