People

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PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Sharon Thompson-SchillSharon L. Thompson Schill
Davidson College; B.A. in Psychology
Stanford University; Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology

Research Interests: I am interested in many aspects of human cognition (see blurbs below!), but recurring themes include the role of the frontal lobes in the regulation of thought, and the link between perceptual and memory systems.

Research in progress: One major theme in the lab right now is an effort to understand the costs, as well as the benefits, of frontally-mediated cognitive control. Our current ideas about this are summarized in Chrysikou et al., 2014, Neuropsychologia. A second major theme concerns how conceptual information is dynamically retrieved and reconfigured; this work includes studies of how visual features are integrated into concepts (e.g., Coutanche & Thompson-Schill, Cerebral Cortex), how new conceptual information is integrated with prior knowledge (e.g., Coutanche & Thompson-Schill, JEP:General), and how different variables affect how we retrieve conceptual information (e.g., Hsu et al., J of Cog Neuro).
Email: sschill@psych.upenn.edu

CV (updated Apr. 2019)

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POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWS

Yoed KenettYoed Kenett
Hebrew University; B.A. & M.A. Cognitive Science, 2007 & 2009
Bar-Ilan University; Ph.D. Neuroscience, 2015

Research Interests: I examine how semantic memory structure enables and constrains high level cognitive processes, such as memory retrieval and creative thinking, in typical and clinical populations (such as persons with autism). To achieve this, I use computational methods to represent semantic memory structure and empirical neurocognitive methods to directly examine these computational findings.

Email: yoedk@sas.upenn.edu

Alexa TomparyAlexa Tompary
University of Chicago; B.A. Psychology, 2010
New York University; Ph.D. Psychology, 2017

Research Interests: I’m interested in the how episodic memories are altered with consolidation, and how this process is related to the acquisition of semantic and conceptual knowledge. As a graduate student, I used behavioral and neuroimaging methods to examine how episodic memories with overlapping information come to be represented over time.

Email: atompary@sas.upenn.eduWebsite »

Cybelle SmithCybelle Smith
Stanford University; B.A. Linguistics, 2011
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.S. Applied Statistics, 2018, Ph.D. Psychology, 2018

Research Interests: I am interested in the role of executive function in accessing, maintaining and manipulating semantic memories in the processing of both verbal and non-verbal input streams. For example, predictive processing may play a role in our ability to understand rapid linguistic input. Prediction may also contribute to our ability to rapidly identify objects and recall relevant information about them as we move through the visual world. However, open questions remain regarding the extent to which predictive processing in the verbal and non-verbal domains relies on shared neural and cognitive mechanisms, and the extent to which differences across domains can be explained by general principles of neural organization. Similar questions arise in comparing working memory function and the broader class of contextual facilitation effects across the verbal and non-verbal domains.

Email: cybelle@sas.upenn.edu

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GRADUATE STUDENTS

Sarah SolomonSarah Solomon
University of Delaware; M.A. Cognitive Science, 2012,
B.S. Psychology and Cognitive Science, 2011, B.A. Philosophy, 2011

Research Interests: How are concepts structured to enable the generation of flexible, context-dependent representations? How is conceptual information manipulated in the brain such that an appropriate representation is formed?

Research in Progress: I have explored the flexible manipulation of conceptual representations in object-change, figurative language, and adjective-noun combinations. I am currently exploring the possibility of using network science approaches to model individual concepts, which might enable the quantitative modeling of conceptual flexibility and other phenomena.

Email: sarahsol@sas.upenn.edu

Nathan TardiffNathan Tardiff
Rutgers University; B.A. English, 2004
Harvard Graduate School of Education; Ed.M. Mind, Brain, and Education, 2012

Research Interests: I am interested in the cognitive and neural mechanisms of endogenous flexibility, the ability to adapt one’s behavior in the absence of explicit cues to do so. This ability requires the interaction of learning, decision-making, arousal, and cognitive control processes. Currently, I am studying endogenous flexibility in the domains of reinforcement learning and exploratory behavior. I have utilized a variety of methods in this work, including neuroimaging, pupillometry, noninvasive brain stimulation, genotyping, and computational modeling.

Email: ntardiff@sas.upenn.edu

Ariana FamiliarAriana Familiar
New York University; B.A. Psychology & Philosophy, 2013

Research Interests: I study how and by what properties the brain leverages visual information in behaviors such as recognizing and categorizing objects and perceiving scenes. Using behavioral and neuroimaging methods with computational modeling, I aim to elucidate how certain ‘specialized’ layers of large-scale neural networks interact to give rise to visual perception and memory-related processes.

Email: afam@sas.upenn.edu

Tima ZengTima Zeng
Wesleyan University; B.A. Psychology & Computer Science, 2017

Research Interests: I have a broad interest in long-term memory.

Email: hzen@sas.upenn.edu

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RESEARCH SPECIALISTS

Alice XiaAlice Xia
Carleton University; M.A. Cognitive Science, 2018

Email: axia90@sas.upenn.edu

Euan PrentisEuan Prentis
New York University; B.A. Psychology, 2019

Email: eprentis@sas.upenn.edu

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