Linda B. Smith, PhD. Chancellor's Professor
2013 Recipient of the David E. Rumelhart Prize
Research Interests: Perceptual and cognitive development in early childhood; classification and categorization; interactions between perception and language.
Research Interests: Children are born curious, like scientists, actively exploring their world. They spontaneously experiment - they smell, taste, bite, coo, cry, giggle, blow, hum and touch - they shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub and try to pull things apart. I am intensely interested in observing children and exploring the many ways they learn about their world.
Research Interests: Development is all about change: macro changes like motor milestones and micro changes like neural organization, connectivity and growth. When and how do these changes occur? What are the mechanisms behind these changes? What factors affect these changes? These are questions that developmental scientists are trying to answer in small and large ways. I am particularly interested in how infants perceive, process, and understand faces, and how age, experience, and the environment affect these processes. I take both neurological as well as behavioral approaches to answering these questions.
Research Interests: My research interests are in the broad area of children's language acquisition with a focus on children's word learning. What are the mechanisms that underlie children's word learning? How do these processes evolve and change over development? What accounts for the individual differences we see in vocabulary acquisition? My current research in the Cognitive Development Lab focuses on the nature of the perceptual, social, and linguistic input parents provide to children at different ages, and how this input helps shape the learning processes involved in children's word learning.
Research Interests: I am interested in how our experiences with language shape our language abilities. In adults, I investigate how language experience underlies our ability to produce and comprehend complex sentences. In children, I investigate how language experience shapes early word learning. I am particularly interested in the contributions of both written and spoken language to linguistic abilities in adults and children. There are quantitative and qualitative differences between both child and adult-directed speech and texts, and I would like to better understand these differences and the contribution of both sources of input to language learning and language use.
Research Interests: Everyday learning takes place in a real environment that offers many potential targets for attention and learning, as well as changing momentary goals. How does the child select and stabilize attention for word learning? What role does word learning itself play in organizing a child's attention? My main goal is to study the developmental changes in attention to further investigate the role of the attentional processes in word learning, including object labels and adjectives.
Research Interests: My research interests focus on the role of different forms of activity - from physical behavior to evoked neural activity - in the development of functional and structural brain networks. I am interested in how these interactions between behavior and brain networks create change over multiple time scales, and contribute to differences and similarities between individuals.
Research Interests: How did we learn what a spoon is and how it is different from a fork? Does it matter how many spoons we've seen, when we saw them and how different they were? Our environment is full of different objects. One way we use to make sense of this great amount of information is by grouping objects together into groups or categories. My research focuses on how different experiences with objects change how we group them and how this changes across development.
Research Interests: Language acquisition during infancy is the focus of my research. I am currently interested in studying the role that parents play in this process, by analyzing their "sensitive" behaviors during play sessions with their infants. Specifically, I examine the increased learning opportunities that take place during moments of parent-infant coordinated attention, establishing a link between caregiver sensitivity, joint attention and word learning.
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