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People in the Lab

Director

HANAKO YOSHIDA, PH.D.

Picture of  Hanako Yoshida

Dr. Yoshida is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her central research focuses on language learning mechanisms creating highly specialized learning processes and the cognitive consequences of the language learning. The core idea behind her research is that these specialalized learning processes are derived from domain-general mechanisms and the process involving the fine-tuning and contextual cueing of attention to aspects of the learning environment. Dr. Yoshida studies these processes by studying young children learning different language(s). Her work provides insight into questions of how early learning interacts with regularities in the world, and how this relation feeds into self-sustaining learning.

Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Hanako Yoshida

Areas: Cognitive development (word/language learning, bilingual cognition, cross-linguistic comparison with children's category learning)

yoshida@uh.edu

Postdoctoral Students and Graduate Students

LICHAO SUN

Picture of Lichao Sun

I am the first-year graduate student in the cognitive development lab. I am interested in the relationship between cognitive development and language learning. Specifically, I focus on the influences of dual/multi-language learning on cognitive flexibility and attention allocation during social interaction.

Curriculum Vitae of Lichao Sun

 

Graduate Student Alumni

JOSEPH BURLING

Picture of Joseph Burling

Joseph received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program) at the University of Houston in May 2015. Upon graduation, Joseph accepted a post-doctoral position at UCLA in the Computational Vision and Learning Lab. While at the lab, Joseph investigated cognitive factors that lead to the attentional development.

CRYSTAL TRAN

Picture of Crystal Tran

Crystal received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program) at the University of Houston in May 2015. She is an assistant professor of Psychology at University of St. Thomas.

BETH WOODS

Picture of Beth Woods

Beth received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program) at the University of Houston in December 2013. She is an assistant professor of Psychology at Texas Lutheran University.

 

Research Assistants

AAKASH PATEL

Picture of Aakash Patel

My primary reason for joining the lab was to work with an active research group and engage in the practice of cognitive development. My research interests focus on brain development and attentiveness during learning. I am eager to learn about cognitive simulations and modeling to help provide insight on early learning.

MEGAN WHELEN

Picture of MEGAN WHELEN

I joined the Cognitive Development Lab in order to further my understanding of what goes into research in psychology. I hope to go to graduate school for Clinical Psychology, where I will be trained as both a clinician and researcher, and with the experience I gain here I can go into it with extensive experience in the research process. I also look forward to learning about cognitive development and broadening my knowledge within the field of psychology.

 

VINCE BUI

Picture of Vince Bui

Spurred by a fascination of the process of word-learning in children, I joined the Cognitive Development Lab. As a research assistant, I hope to gain practical experience as I learn more about the language development in children. I am particularly interested in the means children comprehend and form sentences. In the future, I plan to apply my experience and understanding of children as I head to medical school, specializing in pediatrics.

 

LAURA LAY

Picture of Laura Lay

I joined the UH Cognitive Development Lab in hopes of getting hands-on experience in research. I am interested in the pediatrics side of the medical field, so being part of the Cognitive Development Lab is not only a way for me to learn more about cognitive science, but is also an opportunity for me to work with children. My research interests include learning about how maternal depression affects word learning and how autistic children learn.

 

CAROLYN NGUYEN

Picture of Carolyn Nguyen

I joined the Cognitive Development Lab because I was interested in how the visual search performance of children is connected to their early learning. I hope to gain valuable research experience and learn more about what contributes to children's word learning. As an aspiring optometrist, I believe the knowledge I gain will deepen my understanding of vision and its impact on cognitive development..

 

KARINA GEORGE

Summer 2017 - Present Picture of Karina George
My passion for education and interest in how early childhood moments impact long term success drove me to join the Cognitive Development Lab. I am excited to learn more about how different factors influence knowledge acquisition. As a research assistant, I hope to gain practical research experience and broaden my skills as well as gain more exposure to the psychology field.

 

K. KELLY MEINE

Summer 2017 - Present
Picture of K. Kelly Meine I am a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Quantitative Social Science. In addition to being a research assistant with the lab, I am also the website administrator. My research interests include how language is developed and processed in the brain, and how social factors affect cognitive development.

 

 

FRANCISCA (FRANKIE) TORRES

Summer 2017 - Present
Picture of Francisca (Frankie) TorresPassionate about understanding neurodevelopmental processes, I joined the Cognitive Development Lab to expand my practical experiences working in a research setting. Within my time at the lab, I plan on familiarizing myself with the equipment and methods used to analyze eye-gaze in children and to measure how it effects their learning. To support my interest in neurodevelopment, I aim to further comprehend the learning differences of typically-developing children to those identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 

 

ZAINAB ARIF

Fall 2017 - Present
Picture of Zainab Arif I am currently a Junior majoring in Biology with minors in Psychology and Business Administration. I joined the UH Cognitive Development lab to further my understanding of child psychology and brain development. I want to pursue a career in Pediatric Neurology, and so getting experience working with children and discovering correlations between their behavior and developmental process would be valuable experience towards this long-term goal. This experience will also sharpen my understanding of the research process. I am particularly interested in how children process words and learn language and how that correlates with their social environment and interactions.

 

 

KEVIN DANG

Fall 2017 - Present
Picture of Kevil DangI joined the Cognitive Development Lab because I was fascinated by neuroscience and language acquisition in children. In this research lab, I hope to apply the scientific method, obtain invaluable research experience, and learn more about the psychological and biological processes involved in language acquisition in children. I am interested in how skills such as attention, visual processing, and gestures affect word learning. As an aspiring pediatrician, I hope the beneficial experience that I acquire from this lab will enhance my knowledge of cognitive and language development.

 

ZAINUB MALLICK

Fall 2017 - Present Picture of Zainub Mallick
I joined the Cognitive Development lab under Dr. Yoshida because I plan to pursue a career in researching ABA therapy in relation to children with ASD. The work done here in the lab appealed to my interest in languages as well as cognitive development. Spending time volunteering with kids at the Children's Assessment Center combined with my desire to research cognitive process in children on the spectrum pushed me to join this lab and partake in conducting the research it is doing. In the future, I hope to obtain a PsyD in Clinical Psychology, and conduct further research on learning styles and therapy types for children on the spectrum.

 

 

LILIANA RAMOS

Fall 2017 - Present
Picture of Liliana Ramos As an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, research is very important to me. My ultimate goal is to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D in Psychology and I hope to become a professor and researcher at a university. My research interests revolve around personality psychology, developmental, and cognitive psychology. More specifically, how our personality develops over our lifespan and even how language affects our personality. I joined this lab because I am well aware of how crucial it is to have research experience and because it is a part of my research interests in the future.

 

SOFÍ GONZALEZ

Spring 2018 - Present Picture of Sofi Gonzalez
I joined the Cognitive Development Lab, eager to gain a greater understanding of the research process. Child development is a topic I am passionate about and having the opportunity to work with children makes research that much more gratifying and fun! The Cognitive Development Lab has given me the privilege to work with a team of enthusiastic, driven individuals who have provided me with tools to further advance in my field. I aspire to use what I have learned here to, someday, work in a psychotherapy center for children with cognitive disabilities.

 

 

ALEXA GUEVARA

Spring 2018 - Present Picture of Alexa Guevara
I joined the Cognitive Development Lab to further understand the process behind conducting studies in behavioral research. I am a psychology major with an interest in learning about the influences of early childhood and parenting on a person's future personality and behavior.My hope is to work as a clinical psychologist in a school setting. My work with the lab will allow me to gain valuable experience interacting with children and learning more about their development.

 

 

MELISA WILLIAMS IBORA

Spring 2018 - Present
Picture of Melisa Ibora I joined the Cognitive Development lab under Dr. Hanako Yoshida because I understand that the first few years of a child's life are crucial. I am currently completing my undergraduate, majoring in Psychology. In the future, I'm planning on continuing my education through graduate school to achieve a Ph.D in Developmental Psychology. I hope to gain plenty of research experience and to further my understanding of the Developmental Psychology, especially in how the parent-baby relationship can influence a child's social and learning abilities.

 

 

EMMANUEL NWAOBI

Spring 2018 - Present Picture of Emmanuel Nwaobi
I joined the Cognitive Development Lab in order to gain research experience in psychology. My goal to go to graduate school for Clinical Psychology or Cognitive Neuroscience. I want to combine computer science and psychology to expand upon the body of knowledge in psychology through research and clinical applications. I look forward to learning about cognitive development and broadening my knowledge within the field of psychology.

 

 

MELISSA MONTENEGRO

Spring 2018 - Present Picture of Melissa Montenegro
While earning my bachelors degree in psychology, I earned experience working at a research lab aimed toward the understanding of communication disorders in children. In the interest of expanding my knowledge about child development, I decided to join Dr. Yoshida’s laboratory as it provides an outstanding opportunity to better understand cognitive processes in children and also perfectly complements my current experience with the study of language disorders and bilingualism. I am fascinated by the different cerebral activities that take place when acquiring language at a young age and I hope that I can utilize this experience to broaden my knowledge in the topic.

 

Collaborators

LINDA B. SMITH, PH.D.

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Chancellor's Professor Of Psychology

 

POORNA KUSHALNAGAR, PH.D.

Picture of Poorna KushalnagarAssociate Professor, Gallaudet University

 

YUKIE NAGAI, PH.D.

Picture of Yukie Nagai Senior Researcher, Center for Information and Neural Networks, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan

 

TOSHIKI MURASE, PH.D.

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Faculty of Law and Literature, Shimane University

 

CANDICE ALFANO, PH.D.

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Associate Professor & Director, Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston, University of Houston

 

CARLA SHARP, PH.D.

Picture of Carla Sharp

Professor, Director of Clinical Training, Director of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab, University of Houston