Assistant Professor of Psychology

Carnegie Mellon University

I am a cognitive scientist who studies how humans and machines learn from language. I am particularly interested in how synergies between the structure of input and the expectations of learning mechanisms facilitate learning. Much of the work in my lab has focused on children’s language learning as a case study. Because children learn from caregivers motivated to communicate with them, they can get a lot of learning done fast.

I direct the Communication and Learning Lab at CMU. We use a combination of methods to understand learning. First, we use naturalistic observation to characterize the visual and linguistic input available for learning. Second, we use experimental methods to characterize how the mechanisms available for learning. Finally, we use computational models to characterize the consequences of applying these learning mechanisms to the available input.


I am excited about the movement to use bigger data and more robust methods in Developmental Science. I have contributed to a number of projects that I hope you’ll find useful.

  • Wordbank – An open database of children’s vocabulary growth. Also wordbankr, an R API to the database.
  • childes-db – an open database for storing child language datasets from CHILDES. Also childesr, an R API to the database.
  • ManyBabies – a collaborative project for replication and best practices in developmental psychology research.
  • tidyboot – an tidyverse compatible package for computing bootstrap statistics.