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On July 30th, undergraduate researchers from the Cognitive Development Labs presented their summer projects at Wesleyan University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session.



Anthony Gutierrez ’15 presents his poster, “Number Concepts in Children’s Picture Books.”



Professor Anna Shusterman discusses the findings from “New Discoveries in How Children Understand ‘Two,'” a poster by Kayla Schlenz ’16.



Mary Toomey ’17 chats with Blue Lab post-doc Pierina Cheung about her poster, “The Wesleyan Preschool-Math Project,” which she co-presented with Megan Dolan ’17 and Sonia Max ’17.



Mary Toomey ’17 explains Math Garage, one of the preschool math games she helped develop this summer.



Megan Dolan ’17 talks to an interested visitor about the preschool math project.



Mary Toomey ’17Sonia Max ’17, and Megan Dolan ’17 with their poster, “The Wesleyan Preschool-Math Project.”



The Living Lab at the Connecticut Science Center is an ongoing collaboration between the Science Center and the Cognitive Development Labs at Wesleyan University that aims to educate the public about child development by immersing museum visitors in the process of scientific discovery. Families visiting the museum are invited to participate in ongoing research projects, and to engage in one-on-one conversations with the researchers.




CDL researchers will be visiting the Science Center during the summer of 2015 — feel free to drop by! Our station recently moved to the Health Lab in the Picture of Health exhibit on the 5th floor, so come check us out in our new location!



Upcoming Visits, Summer 2015

Wednesday, 7/8/15 (11:30 am – 2:30 pm)

Wednesday, 7/15/15 (11:30 am – 2:30 pm)

During the summer of 2015, members of the Cognitive Development Labs will be going to KidCity Children’s Museum in Middletown, CT on Saturday mornings to play research games with kids and talk to interested families. We will be in the birthday party room on the second floor — feel free to drop by and say hello!


CDL research assistant Sonia Max ’17 and post-doc Pierina Cheung at KidCity on 6/13/15.


Upcoming Visits, Summer 2015

Saturday, 6/27/15 (9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Saturday, 7/11/15 (9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Saturday, 7/18/15 (9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

On April 30th, Wesleyan University’s Psychology Department held its annual poster session to showcase the accomplishments of its students and faculty from the past year. The Cognitive Development Labs were represented by eleven lab members presenting a total of ten posters. Thank you to everyone for their hard work and dedication, and congratulations on another productive year!


Steph Blumentsock ’16, Abby Archibald ’15, and Elaine Maskus ’15 present their poster on Kindergarten Kickstart, a research-based summer preschool program offered to families in Middletown, CT founded by Blue Lab director Anna Shusterman.



Jillian Roberts ’15 presents her senior thesis, “Minimal Group Membership and Children’s Ideas of Equality.”



Anna Schwab ’16 presents a Yellow Lab project she’s been working on since the summer of 2014, “A Non-Bayesian Explanation of Adults’ and Children’s Biased Spatial Estimates.”



John Pacheco ’15 presents a Blue Lab project in which he’s been involved for the last three years, “Navigation in Children: The Effects of Symmetry and Asymmetry on Spatial Reorientation.”



Sheri Reichelson ’16 presents a Yellow Lab project she’s been working on this year, “Does the Arbitrary Grouping of Options Influence Children’s Choices?”



Sonia Zavala ’15 presents a Yellow Lab project she’s been working on since the summer of 2014, “SES-Based Differences in Children’s Number-line Task Performance.”



Lab Coordinator Lonnie Bass presents a Yellow Lab projects she’s been working on this year, “Links Between Lab-Based Measures of Numerical Competence and TEMA Scores.” She also presented a Blue Lab project, “Children’s Mirror Image Discrimination Abilities.”



Tawni Stoop ’15 presents a Blue Lab project in which she’s been involved for the last two years, “Effects of Linguistic Context on Children’s Number Word Acquisition.”



David Bales ’15 presents a Blue Lab project he’s been working on this year, “Number Concepts in Children’s Picture Books.”

On March 28th, the Cognitive Development Labs attended the Easter Candy Hunt at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown, CT. Lab members had a wonderful time handing out candy and playing fun research games with the children who attended. Thank you to the Middletown Parks and Recreation Department for organizing this event, and to the Woodrow Wilson Middle School for hosting!

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Lab members John Pacheco ’15, Tawni Stoop ’15, and Steph Blumenstock ’16 represent the Cognitive Development Labs at the Middletown Easter Candy Hunt.


A child picks some candies as part of an ongoing study in the Cognitive Development Labs that investigates how children make choices.

On March 25th, members of the Cognitive Development Labs volunteered at the fourth annual Pre-K Family Math Night at Edna C. Stevens Elementary School in Cromwell, CT. Preschool children and their families had a chance to play fun, research-based math games created by lab members and students from Professor Shusterman’s research methods course. Thank you to the Edna C. Stevens Elementary School for hosting this wonderful event, and to all the families who attended!



The Cognitive Development Labs were represented at Pre-K Family Math Night by Post-Doctoral Fellow Pierina Cheung, Mary DePascale, and Sonia Zavala ’15



Lab Coordinator Lonnie Bass and Sonia Zavala ’15 playing Monster Math, a game created by Professor Shusterman’s research methods course



Lab Coordinator Lonnie Bass reading One Monkey Too Many, by Jackie French Coller

The Cognitive Development Labs presented four posters at the very first International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS 2015), which took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The conference was held from March 12th – 14th in the Beurs van Berlage.


Lab Coordinator Lonnie Bass presenting “Children’s Mirror Image Discrimination Abilities” with Gwynne Hunter ’10, Kimberly Gutowski, and Anna Shusterman.



Tawni Stoop ’15 presenting “Effects of Linguistic Context on Children’s Number Word Acquisition” with Angela Lo ’14, Emily Slusser (post-doc, ’10-’12), and Anna Shusterman.



John Pacheco ’15 presenting “Navigation in Children: The Effects of Symmetry and Asymmetry on Spatial Reorientation” with Andrew Ribner ’14Samantha Melvin ’13Taylor DeLoach ’13, and Anna Shusterman.



Lab Coordinator Lonnie Bass presenting “A Non-Bayesian Explanation of Adults’ and Children’s Biased Spatial Estimates” with Ellen Lesser (RA, ’12-’14), Jessica Taggart (lab coordinator, ’12-’14), Emily Slusser (post-doc, ’10-’12), Sheri Reichelson ’16, and Anna Schwab ’16, and Hilary Barth.

The Cognitive Development Labs presented three posters at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD 2015) in Philadelphia. The conference was held from March 19th – 21st in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Former lab coordinator Jessica Taggart (below) presented work done with Jillian Roberts ’15, current lab coordinator Lonnie Bass, and Hilary Barth entitled “Minimal group membership and children’s ideas of equality.” This is Roberts’ senior thesis project.



Andrew Ribner ’14 presented “Preschool indicators of primary school math ability” with Anna Shusterman and former postdoc Emily Slusser. And Hilary Barth presented “A non-Bayesian explanation of adults’ and children’s biased spatial estimates” with Ellen Lesser ’15, Jessica Taggart, Emily Slusser, Lonnie Bass, Sheri Reichelson ’16, and Anna Schwab ’16. 


Over a dozen presentations at the conference were authored by up-and-coming scientists who did undergraduate work in the Wesleyan Cognitive Development Labs, too! Here’s a sample of the work these alums (in bold) are doing now:

“Learning about mental states through analogical comparison”
Christian Hoyos ’11 (Northwestern U), Dedre Gentner (Northwestern U)

“The Development of Implicit Theories of Effort”
Julia Leonard ’11 (MIT), Samantha Floyd (MIT), Laura Schulz (MIT)

“Number Word Mappings in Bilingual Children: Evidence for Effects of Language Dominance on Estimation”
Shirlene Wade (University of Rochester), Jessica Sullivan ’08 (Skidmore College), David Barner (UCSD)

“Preschoolers Spontaneously Encode Discourse Structure”
Jessica Sullivan ’08 (Skidmore College), Nestor Tulagan, Nicholas Gruberg, David Barner (UCSD), Victor Ferreira (UCSD)

“Number counts for infants”
Elizabeth Brannon, Ariel Starr ’07 (Duke U)

“The role of non-numerical stimulus features in the development of the number sense”
Ariel Starr ’07, Nick DeWind ’06, Elizabeth Brannon (Duke U)

“Putting the pieces together: Parent spatial language scaffolding for boys and girls during puzzle play”
Raedy Ping (Loyola U), Joanna Schiffman ’11 (Boston College), Naveen Khetarpal (U Chicago), Susan Levine (U Chicago)

“More than meets the eye: The development of children’s cross-sectioning ability”
Christopher Young (U Chicago), Alana Dulaney (U Chicago), Joanna Schiffman ’11 (Boston College), Susan Levine (U Chicago)

“Socioeconomic status may drive divergent reading skill-coherence relationships in right visuospatial tracts”
Margaret Gullick ’07 (UT Austin), Ozlem Demir (Northwestern U), James Booth (UT Austin)

“Exploring exploration: The relation between infants’ exploratory play and developmental outcomes”
Paul Muentener (Tufts U), Elise Herrig ’10, Laura Schulz (MIT)

“The early development of efficiency in real-time lexical processing by children learning American Sign Language”
Kyle MacDonald ’10 (Stanford U), Todd LaMarr (UC Davis), Virginia Marchman (Stanford), David Corina (UC Davis), Anne Fernald (Stanford)

“The development of children’s real-time American Sign Language sentence processing”
Todd LaMarr (UC Davis), Kyle MacDonald ’10 (Stanford U), Virginia Marchman (Stanford), David Corina (UC Davis), Anne Fernald (Stanford)

“Adaptation of language assessment instruments for 2-year-old Wolof-learning children living in rural African villages”
Ann Weber (Stanford U), Virginia Marchman (Stanford), Kyle MacDonald ’10 (Stanford U), Ricardo Bion (Stanford), Yatma Diop (Dalberg Global Development Advisors), Ibrahima Giroux (Tostan), Anne Fernald (Stanford U)

“Social cues modulate the strength of encoding alternative referents in cross-situational word learning”
Kyle MacDonald ’10 (Stanford U), Daniel Yorovsky (Stanford), Michael Frank (Stanford)

“Number Word Learning: A Parent-Driven Training Study”
Dominic Gibson ’10 (U Chicago), Elizabeth Gunderson (Temple U), Susan Levine (U Chicago)

“Numerical approximation in preschool using number gestures and number words”
Elizabeth Gunderson (Temple U), Elizabet Spaepen (U Chicago), Dominic Gibson ’10 (U Chicago), Susan Goldin-Meadow (U Chicago) Susan Levine (U Chicago)

“Socioeconomic Disparities and Contributions of the Home Environment to Infant and Toddler Language Development”
Kimberly G Noble, Natalie Hiromi Brito, Samantha Melvin ’13 (Columbia U), Laura Engelhardt, William P Fifer, Amy J Elliott

“Parent Stress as a Mediator of the SES Language Gap”
Samantha Melvin ’13 (Columbia U), Jessica Calihan, Natalie Brito, Kimberly Noble

“Getting Ready for School: Assessing the feasibility and fidelity of an integrated school readiness intervention”
Helena Duch, Saskia Op den Bosch, Samantha Melvin ’13 (Columbia), Cassie Landers, Kimberly Noble


Former Shusterman lab coordinator Talia Berkowitz and former postdoc Mariah Schug also presented work at the conference:

“Bedtime Learning Together: Exploring the use of technology to support children’s math learning and attitudes”
Talia Berkowitz (U Chicago), Marjorie Schaffer (U Chicago), Sian Beilock (U Chicago), Susan Levine (U Chicago)

“Wayfinding Anxiety and Childhood Experience”
Mariah Schug (Widener U), Jeanine Stefanucci (U of Utah), Sarah Creem-Regehr (U of Utah), Elizabeth Cashdan (U of Utah)


**UPDATE: On March 23rd, the Wesleyan Connection (Wesleyan University’s online newsletter) published a blog post about the Cognitive Development Labs’ presence at SRCD 2015. You can read the blog post here.


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