How do we develop cognitive control?
I leverage developmental, experimental, and meta-analytic methods to understand how social processes shape cognitive control.
Humans are remarkable for their ability to control their thoughts, behaviors, and desires in order to pursue complex goals. Where does this ability to exercise cognitive control come from? One way to address this question is by examining how it develops. Children are notorious for struggling to resist urges, stay on task, and delay gratification; but with development these skills dramatically improve.
Decades of research have advanced knowledge on the neurocognitive substrates supporting the development of cognitive control. However, cognitive control does not develop in isolation, it develops in the real world, in a sociocultural context. In my research I explore how social processes, such as linguistic input and social norms, influence the development of cognitive control. My goal is to gain new insights into the origins and nature of cognitive control and related abilities, and to provide new ideas for how it can be improved in those who struggle with it.
I am funded by an individual NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (sponsor: Yuko Munakata), and am conducting my research in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado – Boulder. I completed my Ph.D. in developmental psychology at the Institute of Child Development in Minnesota, my B.A. in psychology at York University in Toronto, and also studied philosophy at the University of Toronto.