Primary investigator

Julian Jara-Ettinger (cv). I am an assistant professor of Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Computer Science at Yale University. I am broadly interested in characterizing how we think and learn to the level of precision that is necessary to implement it on a machine. To date, most of the lab's research focuses on Theory of Mind -our ability to make sense of other people's behavior by attributing unobservable mental states likes beliefs, desires and intentions. Check out our research page and our publications to learn more.

Lab manager

Madison Flowers. I am the lab manager for the Computation and Cognitive Development lab. I graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Psychology and American Studies in May 2017. While my interests in developmental psychology are broad, I am very interested in the way that children think and learn to understand the people and world around them.

Graduate students

Rosie Aboody. Anyone who has been subject to a four-year- old’s seemingly endless stream of “but why?” questions can attest to the remarkably inquisitive nature of the human species. Even in infancy and early childhood, we want to know how the world works, what makes it tick – and we seem strikingly motivated to help other people attain the same insight. While the ability to teach the right information, and learn from the right people seems crucial, it’s important to note that we never have a direct line of sight into others’ minds. Instead, we have to infer what others know by observing their behavior. How do we use these indirect cues to decide who to learn from, or what to teach? My research integrates behavioral and computational methods to explore these questions.

Michael Lopez-Brau. People have the extraordinary ability to make vast inferences with little information. How do people learn to leverage these inferences as they navigate the social world? Can a machine be designed to learn how to leverage these inferences in the same manner? My research builds upon ideas from psychology and computer science, utilizing a blend of behavioral and computational methods, to answer these questions.

Undergraduate students

Amanda Royka. Despite the incredibly complexity of the social world, humans are able to effortlessly reason about the thoughts and intentions of others. My research in the Computation and Cognitive Development Lab focuses on how we make sense of goals and intentions when confronted with seemingly inefficient actions.

Maria Maier. I am a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Psychology and am particularly interested in social cognition. In the Computation and Cognitive Development Lab, I am researching the cognitive underpinnings of how people reason about abstract concepts, with an emphasis on fairness judgments regarding merit-based distributions.