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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.


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. 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)

On October 25th, members of the Cognitive Development Labs attended the Halloween Fall Festival in Middletown for the second year in a row! Lab members had a wonderful time meeting local families while handing out candy and playing number games with trick-or-treaters.



Lab members Jillian Roberts ’15, Sonia Zavala ’15, and Davey Bales ’15 represent the Cognitive Development Labs at the Middletown Fall Festival.

On September 23rd, the Wesleyan Connection (Wesleyan University’s online newsletter) published a blog post about the Cognitive Development Labs’ ongoing collaboration with the Connecticut Science Center.

The Cognitive Development Labs recently received a $3000 stipend from the National Living Laboratory Initiative to support this collaboration.

You can read the blog post here.


CT Science Center June 2014

Research Assistant Anna Schwab ’16 and Lab Coordinator Lonnie Bass represent the Labs at the Connecticut Science Center.

On September 15th, Richard Kunert published a post on his blog (Brain’s Idea) citing a study published by Blue Lab’s own Julia Leonard (’11), Talia Berkowitz (Lab Coordinator ’10-’12), and Professor Anna Shusterman. Their research investigated the effects of friendly touch on children’s compliance behavior in a delay-of-gratification task. Current lab member Abby Archibald ’15 is continuing work on this project, and presented her most recent findings at the Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session at Wesleyan on July 31st, 2014.

You can read the blog post, and download Leonard et al.’s paper.



Julia Leonard (’11) demonstrating the “friendly touch” condition in her experiment.

On July 31st, undergraduate researchers from the Cognitive Development Labs presented their summer projects at Wesleyan University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session.


Anna and Sheri

Anna Schwab ’16 and Sheri Reichelson ’16 present their summer project, “Developmental Changes in Estimating Spatial Locations”


Elissa and Sonia

Elissa Palmer ’16 and Sonia Zavala ’15 present their summer project, “SES-Based Differences in Children’s Number-Line Task Performance”



Abby Archibald ’15 presents her summer research project, “The Effect of Friendly Touch on Delay of Gratification and Compliance”



Elaine Maskus ’15 presents her summer research project, “Infants’ Understanding of Small Number Words”



John Pacheco ’15 presents his summer research project, “Navigation in Children: The Effects of Symmetry and Asymmetry on Spatial Reorientation”



Tawni Stoop ’15 presents her summer research project, “Effects of Linguistic Context on Children’s Number Word Acquisition”



Anthony Gutierrez ’15 presents his summer research project, “Criteria for Determining Longitudinal Growth of Number Estimation Ability”

On April 13, members of the Cognitive Development Labs attended Daffodil Day – Kids Fest at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. Children played spring-themed number games while parents learned more about the Labs and received fun number game packets to take home. Thanks to all the families who stopped by!


Daffodil Day

Olivia Mason and Maddy Oswald help run the Labs’ table at Daffodil Day

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