As of July 2019 I am Professor Emerita – retired from Yale to make a mid-career pivot, transitioning from scientist to artist. I’ve had the great fortune to have an amazing scientific career investigating things that have fascinated me for decades. What I’ve loved the most about being a scientist & professor is teaching and mentoring my students, undergraduate, graduate and post-doc, and most of all, learning from them; they’ve taught me far more than I’ve taught them over the years. I’m immensely proud of the work we’ve done together, discovering astonishing and marvelous things about the incredible richness of babies’ mental lives (and the world may not yet have heard the last of my thoughts on these matters). I’m excited now to move on to explore the world of art, a fascinating realm that calls on different skills, alternative approaches to knowing & experiencing the world, and a very different way of thinking about, understanding, and communicating deep truths.
My research has investigated core structures of cognition; how the human mind is inherently built to interpret incoming information and make sense of the world. My students and I have studied babies and toddlers, asking how very young humans, who have limited experience and minimal exposure to language, culture and education, understand the world – what capacities, knowledge, and systems of reasoning do we humans (wee humans) already have available from the get-go?
We have studied (among other things) the foundations and development of mathematical cognition, understanding of the physical world, the bases of morality and the bases of bigotry. For a list of all my scientific publications, see my Google Scholar site.