(I have a small number of rants I’ve been in the habit of periodically giving on the bird site. Since I exported my archive recently, I figured I’d write up ...
Hello! I am the Executive Director of Lookit, a website that lets families participate in cognitive development experiments from home. Lookit hosts experiments for research groups around the world; if you are interested in getting started with the platform please have a look here! Previously, I was a graduate student and postdoc in BCS, and am returning to MIT after a stint at the Center for Open Science where I worked on a large-scale project studying the reliability of claims in social science journals.
I am passionate about improving our scientific practices as social scientists, including promoting replication, data sharing, and large collaborations to improve the reliability of what we learn about the minds of young children. My work combines creating solutions for researchers with empirical research on how our habits and tools as scientists impact the results we report. These interests are a direct result of my own research experiences, and I see attention to our scientific practices as intimately related to the specific theories we study and the data we collect and interpret.
My graduate and postgraduate research focused on how early cognitive development informs how we understand language learning, and how the resulting adult language reflects these early representations. Specifically, I am fascinated by how children learn to use syntactic structures such as the transitive (Jane broke the lamp) and periphrastic causative (Jane made the lamp break). This work finds that early conceptual representations of causation and motion support how young toddlers make inferences about particular events in the world and choose what to say to get their own meanings across. I have also conducted research on how these argument structures shape our linguistic abilities at the cognitive and neural levels.