I study cognitive diversity, dynamics, and development. All human learning, reasoning, and inference takes place in a rich cultural, linguistic, and physical context, which imposes elaborate structure on people’s experience. The goal of my research program is to understand how this structure shapes people's concepts, with a focus on space, time, and number representations. To do this, I use methods from disparate disciplines and study diverse populations. For example, I use cross-cultural methods to investigate how language and culture shape systems of conceptual representation in indigenous Amazonians, developmental methods to identify their ontogenetic starting point in children, lab-based experimental methods to make causal inferences in adults, and computational methods to formalize and test competing hypotheses. The results inform an integrated and inclusive theory of conceptual representation, which seeks to explain how the richness and diversity of human cognition arises lawfully from the structure of human experience as it varies across groups, between individuals, and even from moment-to-moment in the same mind.
I completed my PhD at the University of Chicago with Daniel Casasanto and an NSF-funded postdoctoral scholarship in the UC Berkeley Psychology department, where I worked with Steve Piantadosi, Alison Gopnik, and Ted Gibson (at MIT). I am now a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse.