How do social processes influence the development of executive control and reasoning?
I use experimental, meta-analytic, and individual differences methods to gain insight into how social processes shape executive functions and reasoning abilities across development.
How do our social experiences shape who we become, as thinking, reasoning and self-regulating beings? We know a lot about how changes in the brain relate to changes in cognitive processes across development. For example, executive functions allow us to override habits or undesirable responses in order to achieve goals, and they develop along with the prefrontal cortex. But these changes don’t happen in isolation; they happen in the real world, in a social context. My work examines the role of social factors like linguistic input and group behavior on the development of executive functions and reasoning, with the goal of gaining deeper insight into the nature of these skills, and into the fundamental interplay between social and cognitive processes. This work also has the potential to inform interventions to improve executive functions and reasoning in children who struggle with these skills.
I am funded by an individual NIH-NICHD Postdoctoral Fellowship (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.