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 specialized 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

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


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

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.



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


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.







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.






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.






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.







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..






Picture of Taleed Atieh
As a student pursuing a dual degree in Biology and Psychology and double minor in Chemistry and German, my diverse educational platform has allowed me to discover my interests in the field of neuroscience, specifically in the areas of cognition of human behavior and speech development. I decided to join the Cognitive Development Research Lab at UH to embark on my interests by researching the development of children and the behaviors they model with their parents as they grow older. This lab provides me the chance to cultivate the knowledge behind the biological and psychological backgrounds of human behavior thus helping me as I transition on to medical school in the future with the intent of becoming either a neurologist or a psychiatrist that serves to care for patients who suffer from a wide spectrum of medical difficulties.







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.





Picture of Juwayriyah (Sana) Guneshi
I am a senior completing a bachelor’s in Biology and a minor in Education. I joined the Cognitive Developmental Lab to gain insight on how psychological processes change depending on an individual’s unique environment as well as genetic disabilities. I hope to learn about the biological processes involved in language acquisition and early word learning. I’d like to go on to medical school, specializing in pediatric surgery and research, where I can apply the knowledge gained from this experience in the field of medicine.






Picture of Kazi Haque

Previous experience as a volunteer at Texas Children’s Hospital sparked a love and interest in working with children and making them smile. Combining this interest with my interest in neurology and cognitive development, the UH Cognitive Development Lab proved to be an excellent candidate in which I can learn more about brain development in children. This lab will allow me to gain experience and apply research methods as well learn more about children so that I may one day become a caring physician in the field of pediatrics or pediatric neurosurgery.






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.






Picture of Saria Sarwar
Having previous research experience working with teenage participants, I joined the Cognitive Development Lab in order to gain hands-on experience working with a younger age group. Additionally, I was motivated to join the lab by my interest in neuroscience and cognitive processes, especially as they relate to infants, as this is an area that I find mysterious and exciting. I hope to attend graduate school in the future and look forward to the research experiences that the Cognitive Development Lab offers.






Picture of Francisca (Frankie) Torres
Passionate 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.






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.






Picture of Kevil Dang
I 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.







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.







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.







Picture of Linda B Smith

Chancellor's Professor Of Psychology



Picture of Poorna Kushalnagar
Associate 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 Carla Sharp

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