I'm a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Psychology in the Lab for Developmental Psychology, studying intersections between cognitive development and language acquisition. I am broadly interested in a few questions about early development and the implications they have for how we understand adult cognition and language. First, how are pre- or non-linguistic concepts like causation, agency and physical space mapped to language? Second, how do early cognitive capacities like social cognition and awareness of information structure impact early language learning and use?

More specifically, I am interested in how children (and adults) use syntactic structures to make inferences about what sentences mean, and to choose the right things to say to get their own meanings across. I study how children use their conceptual and linguistic representations of causation to make inferences about particular events in the world, and about the meanings of syntactic structures such as the transitive (Jane broke the lamp) and periphrastic causative (Jane made the lamp break). I also look at how event representations and pragmatics interact for children who are just beginning to form their first multi-word utterances.

My work

Links to paper downloads

Printable CV



Ted Gibson

Laura Schulz

Jesse Snedeker

Josh Tenenbaum

Other Collaborators

Katherine Demuth

Paul Muentener