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).

Current CV (updated 2014)



Anna LeshinskayaAnna Leshinskaya
Carleton University; B.A. Cognitive Science, 2008
Harvard University; Ph.D. Psychology, 2015

Research Interests: I am interested in the acquisition and representation
of conceptual knowledge. An important observation is that conceptual
knowledge is not an undifferentiated, homogoenous system but is instead
organized into components specific to a domain (living; non-living) or
attribute type (color; shape; etc). One aspect of my research asks about
the factors that lead to such divisions and determine their cortical
placement. My most current line of work asks how different kinds of
conceptual knowledge are acquired, and to what end they are put to use
computationally. Specifically, I hope to account for the acquisition of
properties of objects that are not physical qualities (e.g., color or
shape) but which denote regularities in their interactions with the world
(e.g., the functions of artifacts and psychological properties of animate
kinds). This latter kind of property tends to be more abstract than the
former; an account of such property learning could thus yield insights into
how humans acquire abstract conceptual knowledge more generally.

Email: Website »

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.


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 »



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.


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

Research Interests: I study the relationship between cognitive control and learning. Areas of interest: individual differences and developmental changes in cognitive control, including costs and benefits of control; interaction of cognitive control and representational capacities in mental flexibility and learning; computational modeling.

Research in Progress: Current work includes studying the role of prefrontal cortex in biasing reinforcement learning


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.


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

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



Michelle JohnsonMichelle Johnson
Swarthmore College; B.A. Neuroscience and Theater, 2016


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