Cognitive Development Center

Our goal in the Cognitive Development Center is to understand thinking and how it changes with development. We work with infants and children to explore the development of memory, language, problem solving, and flexibility. Learning how these abilities develop can help us understand not only how infants and children think, but also how we come to think as adults.

We are working on a variety of projects exploring cognitive development from infancy through childhood. Our research integrates behavioral testing and computational modeling, and draws upon known properties of neural systems established through single-cell recording, patient, and imaging data. 

Some of our ongoing projects explore the development of:

  • Working memory
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Influences of language on cognition
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Representations of objects

We are particularly interested in understanding how our knowledge is organized and how it develops. We often explore these issues through the study of dissociations in children’s behavior. Children can appear very smart when tested with certain tasks, while appearing completely unaware when tested with other tasks meant to measure the same knowledge. Such dissociations cut across a range of domains (e.g., memory, flexibility, and spatial processing), measures (e.g., looking, reaching, and verbal response), and ages (being particularly salient from infancy through childhood). We evaluate competing theoretical approaches to such dissociations, and consider their implications for the organization and development of knowledge.