Our Team

Elizabeth Brannon 

Principal Investigator

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Chair
Professor, Dept. of Psychology

Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar
Email: ebrannon@sas.upenn.edu
Department Link: UPenn Department of Psychology

Dr. Elizabeth M. Brannon graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. in Physical Anthropology in 1992. She received a Masters degree in Anthropology and a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. She has been at Duke in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience since the year 2000 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and Full Professor in 2012. She is currently the Director of Graduate Studies for the Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program (CNAP) and the head of the developmental area within P&N. She maintains a secondary appointment in the department of Evolutionary Anthropology.

She has received numerous academic awards and honors including the Young Investigator Award from The Society for Experimental Psychology, a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, a Merck Scholar Award, and a James McDonnell Scholar Award. She is on the editorial board of Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Psychological Science, and Infancy. Dr. Brannon’s research is funded by The National Institutes of Health and The National Science Foundation. She teaches courses on cognitive development and comparative psychology and maintains two laboratories focused on quantitative cognition in nonhuman primates and human infants.

Shalom Chen

Chuyan Qu

Graduate Student
Chuyan’s research interests lie primarily in the foundations of mathematical thought. She received her B.S. in Psychology at Beijing Normal University in 2019, where she researched attention and cognitive development. She previously worked in the Brain Development Lab at Vanderbilt University under Dr. James Booth studying neural correlates of longitudinal improvement in arithmetic. Currently, she is particularly interested in how basic intuitions connect to highly abstract mathematical concepts. Her present work focuses on examining whether non-symbolic, approximate calculation can function as a bridge between our Approximate Number System and symbolic mathematics for both children and adults. She is also interested in exploring possible parallels of cognitive and neural processes involved in representing number, space and time on the fundamental nature of quantity.

Sami Yousif

Post-Doctoral Associate

Sami is a MindCORE Postdoctoral Fellow at University Pennsylvania. His primary interest is space — how it is that we perceive, interact with, and represent the spatial world around us. Sami sees space as a ‘case study’ of mental representation more broadly. Much of his work touches on broader themes in cognitive science, namely how it is that complex information is formatted in the mind. In our lab, he is studying whether and how people ‘see’ number, as well as how they represent the topological structure of space.

Sam Clarke

Post-Doctoral Associate
Sam works at the intersection between philosophy and cognitive science. He’s particularly interested in perception and the origins of abstract thought. Using the approximate number system as a test case, his work as a MindCORE Research Fellow examines the distinctive features of perceptual processing in the mind/brain and clarifies the ways in which primitive and prelinguistic numerical competences do/don’t relate to the mature number concepts (most) adult humans have at their disposal.

Before coming to Penn, Sam completed a DPhil in Philosophy at the University of Oxford in 2019. In 2017-18, he froze his studies at Oxford to take up a Jane Eliza Procter Fellowship at Princeton University. From 2019-2021, he has held a VISTA Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Philosophy and Centre for Vision Research at York University, Toronto.

Website: https://sampclarke.net/

Research Specialist

Undergraduate Researchers

Summer 2023

Francesca Luzzi

Yuxin Shao

Yijin Hu

David Koestler

Hannah Joo

Former Lab Members

Former Graduate Students

Dr. Kerry Jordan, Associate Professor Utah State University Lab
Dr. Jessica Cantlon, Associate Professor Carnegie Mellon Lab
Dr. Nick DeWind, Postdoctoral Associate University of Pennsylvania Site
Dr. Sarah Jones, Assistant Professor Berea College Site
Dr. Melissa Libertus, Associate Professor University of Pittsburgh Lab 
Dr. Rosa Li, Postdoctoral Associate Duke University Site
Dr. Ariel Starr, Assistant Professor University of Washington Site
Dr. Emily Szkudlarek, Postdoctoral Associate University of Wisconsin Site
Julia (Wenting) Cai

Former Lab Managers

Dr. Evan MacLean, Assistant Professor Anthropology University of Arizona Lab 
Dr. Umay Suanda, Assistant Professor University of Connecticut Lab 
Dr. Emily Hopkins, Assistant Professor University of Scranton Site
Rachel Roberts, Graduate Student Psychology U of Michigan Site
Monica Carlson, Graduate Student Biology Princeton Lab 
Nuwur Ahmed

Former Post Doctoral Associates

iDr. Sara Cordes, Associate Professor Boston College Site
Dr. Kerry Lewis Graham, Associate Professor Texas State University Site
Dr. Joonkoo Park, Assistant Professor UMass Amherst Lab 
Dr. Michael Pinhas, Assistant Professor Ariel University, Israel Site
Dr. Jamie Roitman, Associate Professor University of Illinois Chicago Lab 

Nick DeWind Site

Stephanie Bugden, University of Winnipeg Site