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, kind of like scientists, with a desire to explore 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 learning about how they learn.
Research Interests: Researchers have been finding that adults from different cultures (e.g. people from U.S. and people from Japan) see things in the world in different ways. I am interested in finding out how, why and when these differences develop in young children.
Research Interests: I study how young children learn about number concepts. How do children's initial experiences with the number system affect later development? What effect does children's understanding of magnitude in general have on their concept of number?
Research Interests: What do people see and say in their everyday lives? Does this change with age, and does it influence what people pay attention to and learn? I study how the natural statistics of input matter for language and cognition. In adults, I examine how patterns in language influence eyewitness memory and blame attribution. In children, I study how patterns in early visual experience guide developing object knowledge. Currently, I focus on how infants and children learn from instances distributed over time, using head-camera recordings in the home and behavioral methods in the lab.
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: Vision is a whole-body process integrating movements of the eyes, head, and body to bring relevant areas of the environment into view. My research uses head-mounted eye tracking to investigate the first-person visual experiences of infants, children, and adults during motor action and social interaction. Of key interest are how developmental changes in motor skill (e.g., learning to sit, crawl, and walk) and body morphology (e.g., increase in height) change what information is available to the visual system.
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: 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: How do children develop fluency in formal symbol systems, particularly Arabic numerals? What cognitive/perceptual/motor processes are involved? How does developing understanding of the number system interact with developing acquisition of other symbol systems (such as reading)? How does early experience with symbol systems shape later use of these symbols and later mathematical cognition generally? I am interested of the acquisition of adult-like fluency with symbols and the "downstream" effects of this acquisition process.
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.
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