During the first year of life, infants learn about the sights and sounds in their surrounding world. They learn to tell their mother and father from strangers, and to recognize familiar and sometimes comforting objects. Similarly, adults acquire perceptual expertise through professional training. For example, radiologists train to be highly skilled at analyzing radiological scans or bird watchers become very good at identifying and differentiating different species of birds. But how does this learning happen? What aspects of the environment or training are important? Is perceptual learning as an adult different than an infant? Researchers in the Brain, Cognition and Developmental Laboratory are working to answer these questions and to better understand how the brain supports learning throughout the lifespan. Our research uses a variety of methods, including measures of brain responses, eye-movements and fixations, and behavioral responses.
Research being conducted in the Brain, Cognition, and Development Lab is inherently multidisciplinary and resides at the intersection of several important fields within psychology, including neuroscience, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. The overarching goal of our research is to advance understanding of how experience guides and shapes learning during the course of typical development and through training.