Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in understanding how people, especially children, turn all the of information present in their world into useable information they have learned from and stored in their memory. Much of my work has focused on Statistical Learning, or our brains ability to pick up on patterns in the world around us. Some questions I think about are…

How does the developing brain carry out statistical learning? While we are beginning to understand how the adult brain learns about patterns in the world, we know very little about how this is supported by the developing brain. Moreover, many of the neural systems involved in adult statistical learning develop throughout childhood. Some of my work investigates how this changes what neural systems underlie learning at different ages, and how this changes what people learn across development.

How does the development of other cognitive mechanisms impact statistical learning? It is becoming increasingly clear that statistical learning is linked to things like attention and other memory processes that we know develop with age. Another branch of my work tries to understand how the development of attention impacts statistical learning, both because we may be more or less able to control what we attend to at different ages, and because what we automatically attend to might change with age.