Lab Members

Meet the Lab!

photo of lab members posing together

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Pablo León-Villagrá

Post-Doctoral Researcher

I am a postdoc in the Computational Cognitive Development Lab at Brown University. During my stay at Dr. Buchsbaum’s lab I’d like to explore how children form representations of the world around them and how these representation allow them to perform rapid generalization and transfer. Outside of work I like to play chess, read and try out new recipes.

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Graduate Students

Caiqin Zhou

Ph.D. Student

I’m a second-year Phd student in Cognitive Science. I’m broadly interested in children’s active learning and exploration and their causal reasoning. My research uses both behavioral and computational methods to explore these topics. Before coming to Brown, I studied children’s prosocial behavior in Dr. Felix Warneken’s lab and children’s Theory of Mind in Dr. Julian Jara-Ettinger’s lab. I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Economics from Wellesley College. Outside of work, I enjoy watching medical and crime TV shows and taking long walks.

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Miriam Ross

Ph.D. Student

I am a second-year doctoral student in the Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences department at Brown University. I graduated with my Bachelor’s from Yale University, majoring in Cognitive Science. My current research interests in dog behavior focus on canine intelligence and owners’ perceptions of their dogs. During undergrad, I was fortunate to study theory of mind in wild rhesus monkeys on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico. Outside of work, I love foraging, rollerblading, biking, and thrifting.

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Sarah Kiefer

Ph.D Student

I am a second-year Ph.D. student in the lab. I graduated from Arizona State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology. Prior to Brown, I worked as a research coordinator at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) and then as a lab Manager of the Emerging Minds Lab at Arizona State University (PI: Kelsey Lucca). My research examines children’s early learning through exploration, causal reasoning, and effort allocation. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy rock climbing, watching films, and cooking.

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Madeline Pelgrim

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences Department here at Brown. I completed my Bachelor’s at the University of Toronto where I studied Biology & Psychology. My research focuses on how dogs learn about and interact with the world around them, particularly in their interactions with their human companions.

My website:

madeline pelgrim smiling and crouching down to pet a golden retriever

Rebekah Gelpi

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate currently studying at the University of Toronto. I am particularly interested in the differences between children’s and adults’ learning in social environments, and whether these differences reflect strategies that children and adults are uniquely suited to using. Outside of the lab, I love seeing new films at TIFF and trying out new recipes from the Great British Bake Off.

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Lab Manager

Brooke Jordan

Laboratory Manager

Hello hello! I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in the Fall of 2023! In the Austin Thought Lab, I completed my departmental honors thesis investigating how the experience of learning progress interacts with children’s future learning preferences. Broadly, I’m interested in how methods of evaluation interact with children’s learning outcomes and learning engagement. Outside of lab, I enjoy bouldering, crocheting, and silly competition shows.

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Undergraduate Students

Andrew Park

Volunteer Research Assistant

Hello! My name is Andrew, and I am a third-year at Brown University concentrating in Psychology. For the past six or seven years, I have been spending my free time as a swim instructor for young children, and have been working with kids in volunteer settings as well. As a psychology major, I have always been interested in understanding children’s cognitive development. I am very excited to learn more about children’s cognitive development with the lab and continue working with children! Outside of school, I love to rock climb, surf, and waterski.

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Christine Wu

Volunteer Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Christine and I am a Junior studying Behavioral Decision Sciences and Social Analysis and Research. I have really enjoyed volunteering at my hometown’s children’s museum, teaching at a Providence summer camp, taking child development classes, and now working with this lab! In my free time I indulge in watching (too much) reality tv, trying local restaurants, and obsessively collecting receipts and random knick knacks for my scrapbook.

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Eden Sherrod

Independent Study Student

Hello! I’m Eden, a senior studying Cognitive Science and Biological Anthropology at Brown. In the future I hope to combine these interests by focusing on human evolution, including that of our mental capacities. I love hanging out with kids, and I believe that cognitive development offers insight for my future academic pursuits. Outside of school I love to cook & bake, listen to music, and play with my cat, Wheezy!

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Emily Wang

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award student

Hi! I’m a sophomore at Brown studying computer science on the software and AI pathways. I’ve had a lot of fun tutoring kids in violin in the past, so I’m super excited to help out with the lab and learn more about their cognitive development! Outside of school, I’m usually playing violin, crocheting, or drawing silly doodles.

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Fiametta Boffey

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award student

Hi! I’m Fiametta, a senior at Brown University studying linguistics and linguistic anthropology. I hope to work with children as a speech pathologist one day, so working with kids in the lab has been an exciting hands-on way to learn about children’s cognitive development. When I’m not helping out with research, you can usually find me watching early 2000s serialized TV shows or practicing quidditch with the Brown quidditch team.

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Lauren Bonner

Honors Thesis student

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at Brown University studying Psychology. I previously worked on a research project developing new pharmacological interventions for alcohol use disorder in teenagers and adults. I’m excited to learn about cognition in dogs! Outside of school I volunteer on a suicide hotline, help out with an Animal Behavior course, and enjoy music, fashion, and journaling

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Liana Haigis

Honors Thesis student

Hello! I’m a senior at Brown University pursuing a degree in Psychology and/or Cognitive Science. All through high school, I worked with children ages 4-13 teaching music, math and science. Through this I became interested in age-related differences in cognitive and social-emotional development. I’m excited to learn more about child psychology and cognition during my time at the CoCoDev lab. Outside of academics, I enjoy playing guitar, hiking and spending time with friends.

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Luke Horton

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award student

Howdy! I’m a senior at Brown University concentrating in Psychology and Anthropology. I love working with children, and researching their cognitive development is quite exciting. Currently, I’m working on a thesis studying listening as an act of care. Outside of work and school, I enjoy playing the piano, making comics, and going on long walks.

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Maria Iorini

Honors Thesis student

Hi! I am Maria and I am a Senior. I am concentrating in Psychology and plan to pursue a future in Clinical Psychology. I have past experience tutoring children from ages 3 to 15 and so am extremely excited to continue working with kids in the lab and expand my knowledge on their cognitive function. I spend a lot of my free time in the pool as I am on the swim team as well as baking, reading and dancing!

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Olivia Williamson

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award student

Hello! I am a senior at Brown University concentrating in Psychology. During my time here, I have worked in several public health labs, taken comparative psychology courses, and pet a lot of dogs on the Main Green. I am interested in furthering my understanding of animal cognition during my time at the CoCoDev Lab and plan to pursue further education in Developmental Psychology. Outside of academics, I spend a lot of my time working as a tour guide for the university, mastering the art of crochet, and listening to music.

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Senia Manson

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award student

Hello! My name is Senia and I am a Junior studying Education. I’m especially interested in educational equity and access as well as children’s social-emotional development. I’m very excited to be joining the lab this semester and am looking forward to learning lots! In my free time I love to geocache, swim, and birdwatch.

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Weston Poe

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award student

Hi! My name is Weston, and I am a second-year undergraduate planning to concentrate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Classics (Latin language track) and I’m also premed. I have spent a lot of time during my summers working with 3-to-6-year-olds as a teaching assistant at an elementary school, and I love interacting with children and learning more about how they process and understand the world around them. This is my second semester in the lab, and I am eager to continue learning about and contributing to cognitive development research. In my free time, I enjoy playing the baritone saxophone, reading, and taking walks around Providence.

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We are located in the Metcalf Research Building on the Brown University campus.

Address: 190 Thayer Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02912

Contact Us


Phone: 401-863-2070