Learning requires effort, yet we can’t try hard at everything. Every day we have to decide what’s worth our effort - when to persist through challenges and when to give up and move on to a different endeavor. My lab studies the fundamental cognitive, neural, and computational representations underlying children’s decisions about effort allocation. We study children from diverse populations, ranging in age from infancy to early adolescence, and employ both observational and experimental methods, integrating behavioral, computational and neuroimaging techniques. Our ultimate goal is to gain a comprehensive and causal understanding of how children adaptively learn in response to a range of environmental inputs and to apply our work to interventions that improve children’s academic, social, and health outcomes.