Current Researchers

Misha Oraa Ali, Heather Yu, Mona Polavarapu, Haley Gibbs

Roman Feiman, Niharika Jhingan, Eli Mitnick, Daniel Smits

Allie Elkhadem, Kristin Howell, Jenny Hernandez-Pina, Gabor Brody

Principal Investigator

Roman received his PhD in Psychology from Harvard University in 2015. He completed his postdoctoral work at Harvard and UC San Diego before coming to Brown. His work draws on a variety of approaches and methods from cognitive developmental psychology, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and formal semantics. Roman directs the Brown Language and Thought Lab.


Roman Feiman

Lab Manager

Heather received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is broadly interested in how children process information. Outside of the lab, she enjoys making 3d animations and learning languages.

Heather Yu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Gabor’s research explores infants’ and children’s ability to keep track of the identity of objects, agents, and other entities. He defended his dissertation in 2020 at the Cognitive Development Center of Central European University. During his PhD, he also conducted research at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies and at RICO (Universitat Pompeu Fabra).


Gabor Brody

Graduate Students

Misha received their Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, where they studied Neuroscience and Behavior, and Graphic Narrative and Visual Storytelling. They are interested using experimental and computational approaches to understand core aspects of language and the ontogenetic origins of combinatorial thought. They are also interested in cross-cultural/linguistic studies to understand the logical primitives of thought and language acquisition. Outside of science, Misha likes to make art, host shows on college radio and cube.

Misha Oraa Ali

Undergraduate Students

Jennifer Hernandez-Pina

Jennifer was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, but came to the Ocean State to study Psychology at Brown. She is most interested in abnormal and developmental psychology. Her hobbies include watercoloring, baking, and trying new vegan food.

Mona Polavarapu

Mona (’21) is concentrating in Science, Technology, & Society at Brown University. She is interested in child cognitive development and language acquisition. She is a part of Dance Marathon at Brown and volunteers at Clínica Esperanza. She also loves traveling, reading, and doing pilates.

Dan Smits

Dan (’21) studies Computer Science with a focus on the intersection of computation, cognition, and linguistics. He is interested in natural language processing in both humans and machines and hopes to develop linguistic AI in the future. He is involved in the Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Society, Sexual Assault Peer Education initiative, and Brown Swing Dancing Club.

Niharika Jhingan
Allie Elkhadem

 My name is Allie Elkhadem, and I am a senior, studying neuroscience and anthropology on the medical anthropology track. I am passionate about wellness and health disparities and plan to pursue medicine after college. I have also served as a research assistant and supervising technician at the Bradley Sleep Lab at Butler Hospital on sleep studies for both children and adults. Outside of school I love spending time with my friends and family, exploring Providence, and learning Arabic!

Eli Mitnick

Originally from San Diego, CA, Eli (’21) moved to Rhode Island during high school before coming to Brown. He is interested in studying child language acquisition and the role of language acquisition in self-perception and the development of the self-concept. Eli also studies philosophy and enjoys watching and making movies.

Haley Gibbs

Haley is from New York and is a senior at Brown, studying Cognitive Neuroscience on the pre-med tract. She is in the acapella group, The Ursa Minors, and also writes for the online women’s magazine, Her Campus. She is a singer and guitarist loves writing music in her free time.

Kristin Howell

Kristin is a rising senior studying English and psychology. She is pursuing an Honors Thesis in English where she will explore how Toni Morrison’s concept of “rememory” is reflected in black autobiographical narratives of trauma. Kristin was a clinical research assistant at Bradley Hospital where she helped Dr. John Boekamp study suicidality in preschoolers. This research as well as Kristin’s experience working for elite NY literary agencies have inspired her to pursue a career that utilizes storytelling and quantitative data. She’s looking to pursue a masters en route to a PhD through Brown’s competitive fifth-year program.

Yelena Nicolle Salvador
Naomi Lynch