Skip to main content

People in the Lab



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)

Postdoctoral Students and Graduate Students


Picture of Lichao Sun

Lichao received her Ph.D. in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the University of Houston in May 2022. Now she is continuing work in the Cognitive Development Lab as a post-doctoral fellow. Her research interests include the multimodal experience under various play circumstances (e.g, object play in the lab and at homes), perceptual characteristics in early visual experience, and the impact of early dual/multi-language learning on visual attention and cognitive flexibility.

Curriculum Vitae of Lichao Sun


Picture of Christina Griep

I am a graduate student in the Cognitive Development Lab. I am interested in the discovering how children learn about the world around them through language and their interactions with their parents. My research is focused on the development of language acquisition and the cognitive mechanisms that underlie and facilitate language learning in a bilingual environment and across different languages.  


Picture of Giang Le

I am a graduate student in the Cognitive Development Lab. I am interested in infant early learning mechanisms, especially language development trajectories. My research focus is how different visual experiences affecting infant word learning in social contexts.


elizabethcascadeI am a graduate student in the Cognitive Development Lab. I am interested in atypical development among infants and very young children and how background factors influence language and attention trajectories. My research focus is on children with autism spectrum disorder and how their behaviors during social interaction relate to their developmental outcomes.




saracascadeI am a graduate student in the Cognitive Development Lab. My research interests center on studying how children's attention and language development are shaped by their social environment. To investigate the mechanisms that influence a child's development during early childhood, my research focuses on moment-to-moment interactions between parent and child.


Graduate Student Alumni


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.


Picture of Crystal Tran

Assistant Professor at University of St. Thomas

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.


Assistant Professor at Texas Lutheran University 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

Click here for former Research Assistants


Summer 2017 - Present
Picture of K. Kelly Meine I graduated from UH with a B.S. in Psychology, minor 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.


Fall 2018 - Present
Picture of Nikita Gidh I joined the UH Cognitive Development Lab under Dr. Yoshida as I was interested in neuroscience and pediatrics. While working with a place called SIRE where I help disabled kids learn how to ride a horse as well as teaching children how to play the violin as a violin teacher, I learned the importance of learning development in children and wish to see how parent and social interactions aid in this for babies and toddlers. In the future, I hope to go to medical school and become a pediatric neurosurgeon, and my work here in lab will help me fully understand cognitive development. 


Spring 2019 - Present
Picture of Urvi Sakhuja I joined the Cognitive Development Lab because I am interested in the neuroscience and psychology of children, and wanted to gain firsthand experience of the entire research process. Specifically, my research interests include the development of neuro-divergent children and how they interact with the world around them. In the future, I am hoping to attend medical school and eventually specialize in psychiatry or neuroscience, expanding on my knowledge and experiences from this lab.


Summer 2019 - Present
Picture of Jo-Anne Pham I joined the Cognitive Development Lab because I was interested in learning about how infants' learn to understand and interact with their surroundings. I currently work on the home studies at the lab to better understand contextual setting effects in parent child play behaviors. In the future, I hope to expand my knowledge and research in studying learning experiences from infancy to adulthood. After undergrad, I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. and becoming a professor.





Picture of Linda B Smith

Chancellor's Professor Of Psychology



Picture of Poorna KushalnagarAssociate Professor, Gallaudet University



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




Picture of Toshiki Murase

Faculty of Law and Literature, Shimane University



Picture of Candice Alfano

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



Picture of Carla Sharp

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