People

 

Our research is directed by Lindsey Richland in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate researchers

Lindsey Richland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development and the Committee on Education at the University of Chicago. Dr. Richland investigates children's memory and analytical reasoning development.  Much of her work explores children's emergent ability to think about relationships and make inferences such as through metaphor and analogy.  Dr. Richland also studies everyday instruction in the US and internationally to develop practice-relevant tools grounded in theory for improving student outcomes in mathematics and science domains.  A CAREER award from the National Science Foundation as well as grants from the Institute of Education Sciences and the Office of Naval Research support her work. In 2008, she was awarded a National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Richland received her Ph.D in Developmental Psychology and Cognitive Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003.

Carey DeMichelis received her MA in Social Science from the University of Chicago in 2011 and her BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado in 2010. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology and Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her doctorate research focuses on moral development, personal identity development, and resiliency in hospitalized children. Carey managed Dr. Richland’s Learning Lab at the University of Chicago from 2011-2013 where she coordinated research on analogical reasoning and executive function in math and science classrooms.  While at Chicago, she also worked with Dr. Jean Decety’s Social Cognitive neuroscience lab on the development of moral decision-making, empathy, and prosocial behavior across cultures. 

Rebecca Frausel is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include narrative and cognitive development, life story and narrative identity, autobiographical memory, parent-child interactions, narrative in educational contexts, and the development of higher-order thinking. She received her BA from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011, graduating Summa cum Laude in both Psychology and English Literature, with a minor in Linguistics and a certificate in Cognitive Science. Her undergraduate research at CU-Boulder focused on differences in language acquisition in late-talking versus early-talking toddlers.

Lily Ye is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She is interested in language socialization, institutional discourses, public education, and mixed-methods research. Her undergraduate studies were based in linguistic anthropology and culminated in an examination of the discourse of climate skepticism. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2012 with an AB in linguistics.

Post Doctoral Scholars and

Graduate Students

Research Assistants

Janice Hansen, completed her doctorate at the University of California, Irvine in 2013. Janice is interested in the use of visual representations in science instruction. In particular, Janice investigates how learners draw connections across conceptually connected visual representations. Additionally, she has conducted research into how learners make sense of science representations in informal environments. Janice graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Arizona State University. She has also holds Master of Arts degrees in Educational Psychology from California State University Long Beach, and in Education from the University of California, Irvine.

Sean Kao received his PhD in Education from the University of California, Irvine in 2013.  His research examines strategies for promoting analogical transfer, and long-term effects of alternative feedback styles. As a graduate student, Sean worked with Lindsey Richland on testing effects, analogy, and the TIMSS-R video study. As a doctoral student, Sean’s first year project with Dr. Lindsey Richland examined the benefits of failing a test. He found that, contrary to common belief, trying and failing a test can be beneficial for students’ future learning at the cognitive level. Findings indicate that the mere act of taking a test creates a mental pathway that can enhance the impact of upcoming learning events. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine, in 2006 with a BA in Psychology and Social Behavior and a minor in Education.  As an undergraduate student, Sean worked with children with ADHD in Dr. Carol Whalen's lab.

Learning Lab Alumni

Nina Simms was a post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She is interested in how children and adults learn and reason about relational information. Her research investigates how executive functions, prior experience and knowledge, and representational tools like relational language contribute to the development of relational thinking. With Dr. Lindsey Richland, she explored how these issues inform mathematics education. Nina graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004 with a BA in Psychology and Linguistics and received her PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Northwestern University in 2013, where she worked with Dr. Dedre Gentner.  Nina is currently working as a post-doctoral scholar at Northwestern University.

Emily Lyons is a third-year PhD student in the department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include science education, stereotype threat, testing anxiety, and motivational processes underlying learning. Her undergraduate studies were in Biology. After graduating from Cornell University in 2009, she taught science in New Orleans and New York City public schools.  Her teaching experience formed the basis of her current research interests.

Tyler Warner is a second-year at the University of Chicago who is double-majoring in Psychology and Linguistics. He is academically interested in working with at-risk populations in order to develop solutions to help them succeed both in and out of the classroom, as well as studying the social implications of being labelled “at-risk.” Tyler also loves nature and kayaking in his free time.

Leah Hirschfeld received her A.B. in Psychology with honors from the University of Chicago in 2015. Her honor’s thesis explored the relationship between parental scaffolding and children’s creativity through analogical reasoning. Leah managed Dr. Richland’s Learning Lab at the University of Chicago from 2013-1015. She currently works as a Management Trainee on the executive track at McMaster-Carr in New Jersey.

Kreshnik Begolli received his PhD in Education from the University of California, Irvine in 2014. Motivated to understand how humans learn and impart knowledge and the desire to advance science and education, Kreshnik's research arena alternates between the laboratory and the classroom. By blurring the line between the two, Kreshnik’s research draws primarily from cognitive research in analogical reasoning. As an IES postdoctoral fellow at Temple he hopes to reveal the links between analogy making, math cognition, and spatial thinking - in hopes to discover effective instructional strategies leading to conceptual, generalizable knowledge in mathematics.

Lab Manager

Alanna O'Brien received her MA in Social Sciences with a focus on social psychology at the University of Chicago. Her research examined the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic incentives on consumer behavior and on academic performance in high school students. Her current research interests include exploring such topics as motivation, goal pursuit, self-regulation, and judgement and decision-making. She received her BS in Psychology and History from Florida State University in 2011. After graduating from FSU, she taught 10th grade chemistry; an experience which inspired her current research interests. She is continuing her education at Northwestern University in the Fall of 2016.

Ellen Klostermann Wallace received her BA in Biology and Psychology from Northwestern University.  Her undergraduate research focused on EEG and fMRI studies of implicit memory.  Ellen received her PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009.  During her graduate studies, Ellen conducted neuroimaging studies to explore the role of the parietal lobe in memory retrieval, as well as behavioral studies investigating the effect of emotion on memory.  After receiving her PhD, Ellen worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley where she investigated the relationship between dopamine levels and fMRI activity in working memory networks in older and younger adults.  After moving to Chicago, Ellen taught in the Psychology Department at the University of Chicago and later managed clinical trials at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Daniel Byrne is an MA candidate in the Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago with a focus in Comparative Human Development.  Daniel received his BS Summa cum Laude in Psychology and Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016.  His prior research and professional experience include working as a research assistant for the University of Chicago Medicine’s Thirty Million Words Initiative, the University of Illinois Human Attention Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Defense project on military couples and families post-deployment, and a law clerkship with the State’s Attorney’s Office.  These diverse experiences provided the basis for his current research interests in the social cognitive processes involved in attention socialization and relational reasoning, interpersonal communication and cognition, and narrative in learning contexts.

Shinhae received her BS in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2014.  The primary focus of her undergraduate research was the effect of culture on decision-making.  She is interested in studying how various cultural backgrounds shape different types of thought processes, and consequently how these affect children’s developmental trajectories.  Shinhae believes that understanding the impact of culture on their developmental trajectories will help achieve her ultimate goal- which is to devise an educational mechanism that would help children maximize their learning potentials, regardless of different cultural backgrounds and educational systems.

Almaz Mesghina is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.  Broadly, her research interests include the achievement gap between children of low and high socioeconomic statuses, potential mediators for young disadvantaged learners, and environmental contexts of learning and development.  She graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2016 and received her B.S. both in Child Development and Psychology.  Her previous research involves the effects of different interactive behaviors with touchscreens on word learning in diverse populations of preschoolers.