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.
Research Interests: Broadly speaking, I am interested in how learning, specifically implicit distributional learning, unfolds over time in the human brain. Using a combination of behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods, I aim to better understand not only the types of regularities to which human learners are sensitive, but also how a network of specialized neural substrates works in concert to extract and make use of them. I am particularly interested in how the learning process is influenced by top-down control functions associated with the frontal lobe.
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.