Assistant Professor of Psychology
Areas of Expertise
Cognitive Science, Developmental
Children learn language strikingly fast: By the time they can run down the street, typically developing children are already producing over a thousand words. Yet, these children who astonish us with their effortless language learning continuously forget where they leave their coats and hats. How do children learn language so rapidly despite the constraints imposed on them by their developing memory, attentional control, and information processing systems?
My work aims to resolve this puzzle by modeling language acquisition as a coordination problem between children and their caregivers. To this end, we ask how parents and children talk to each other, how the structure of these conversations interacts with children's basic learning mechanisms, and how differences in either can lead to differences in what and how children learn.