Dr. Yoshida is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her central research focuses on language learning mechanisms creating highly specialized learning processes and the cognitive consequences of the language learning. The core idea behind her research is that these specialized learning processes are derived from domain general mechanisms and the process involving the fine-tuning and contextual cuing of attention to aspects of the learning environment. Dr. Yoshida studies these processes by studying young children learning different language(s). Her work provides insight into questions of how early learning interacts with regularities in the world, and how this relation feeds into self-sustaining learning.

Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Hanako Yoshida

Area: Cognitive development (word/language learning, bilingual cognition, cross-linguistic comparison with children's category learning)

Hanako Yoshida

Graduate Students


I am interested in the cognitive processes of executive function, bilingualism, attentional learning, mutual exclusivity and their implications concerning word learning and academic achievement. Furthermore, I am currently collecting international and regional data for a longitudinal study concerning the effects of cross-cultural languages and its implications on cognitive control, as well as the trajectory changes in vocabulary development and attention.

Curriculum Vitae of Crystal D. Tran

Crystal Tran


I am interested in how the ordering of perceptual information influences learning and decision making across multiple timescales. I'm currently working on research projects that investigate cognitive factors that lead to the rapid shifting of attention between perceptual features, especially when considering an individual's prior knowledge. Computational simulations and cognitive modeling help me to guide my research in understanding the mechanisms underlying child development.

Curriculum Vitae of Joseph M. Burling

Joseph Burling


I am interested in many different aspects of language and language learning. Currently, my work is focusing on how language development and language skills can impact other cognitive processes, such as generalization and categorization, in both monolingual and bilingual children. Additionally, I am interested in the differences between monolingual speakers of different languages and in statistical learning of language.

Curriculum Vitae of Rachel Jobe


I am studying how receiving input from two different languages affects the cognitive and academic development of children. My current research explores the effect of varying levels of language input during a task on children's cognitive flexibility. Other interests include cross-linguistic early vocabulary development, statistical learning as a cognitive mechanism for learning two languages simultaneously, and long-term academic and cognitive effects of early bilingual education programs.

Curriculum Vitae of Grace Cannon


I am interested in the development of visual perception, visual working memory, and attentional learning and how these processes interact to play a role in language learning in young children. In particular, I am looking at what drives attention allocation during learning and determing the mechanisims that can be adopted and employed by children to help them overcome learning difficulties.

Curriculum Vitae of Audrey Utti

Research Assistants


I am interested in examining the effects that bilingualism and culture have on cognitive processes such as executive function, abstract thinking, and memory. I also hope to gain hands on experience by working at the Cognitive Development Lab as a research assistant. I plan on utilizing this knowledge and experience acquired from this lab to further my career in becoming an adept clinician in the field of psychology.


Being a communication science and disorders major, I joined the lab in hopes that this will better prepare me for future graduate research. I have a strong desire to work with children and I am interested specifically in the early social aspects of language development which contribute to the effective communication of both children and adults. I believe that in order to diagnose a disorder of language, a full understanding of early language development is essential and I think this lab will give me hands on experience of proper research techniques and will be a fantastic head start into my field.


I joined the Cognitive Development Lab because I have always enjoyed reading research articles and am interested in becoming a part of the process that creates those articles. In the future, I hope to become a professional therapist, and I hope that learning about the ways in which the cognitive processes of children develop can help me achieve that goal. In addition, I find the process by which children transition from non-linguistic processing to linguistic processing to be very interesting, and look forward to learning more about that.


My primary reason in joining the lab was to work with an active research group and engage in the practice of cognitive development. My research interests focus on brain development and attentiveness during learning. I am eager to learn about cognitive simulations and modeling to help provide insight on early learning.


I joined the Cognitive Development lab because it is a wonderful and positive environment that allows me to gain valuable first hand research experience. We are constantly encouraged to take on projects that interest us so that we can learn in an interesting and interactive way. The lab allows me to expand my knowledge and skill set in research areas that are of interest to me. I am interested in studying the effects of culture and language skills on the development of cognitive brain functions in children and adolescents. Working as a research assistant in this lab will aid me in my goal of continuing my education into graduate school for clinical psychology.


I wanted to join the Cognitive Development lab because it is an incredible opportunity to gain invaluable research experience and broaden my understanding of the processes that influence child development. I am especially interested in how children acquire knowledge in terms of concept development, language acquisition, memory, and the growth of executive function. Although my work as a research assistant will be mostly related to typically developing children, eventually I would like to also work with children who have cognitive impairments as a researcher and Child Psychologist. Undoubtedly, this opportunity will help prepare me for my graduate studies and allow me to grow as a student and scientist.


The Cognitive Development Lab offers a deeper look into the cognition of children while trying to understand different factors affecting their learning. Additionally, their research on the effects and ways of learning in monolingual and bilingual children is greatly relevant in a very cultural diverse community such as Houston. By joining this lab, I hope to able to understand the mechanisms of learning in children, as well as to get a glimpse of research in psychology.


As an aspiring medical student, I joined the Cognitive Development Lab to gain beneficial hands on experience in the research field of psychology. I am greatly interested in language and how it can influence and contribute to a child's cognitive development. From this valuable opportunity, the knowledge I acquire as a research assistant will help further my career in the medical field.


I joined the Cognitive Development Lab because I knew it would be a great opportunity to gain hands-on research in the field of psychology, particularly in a research focus similar to my interest. I am interested in children's learning and development of their cognitions and personality. Specifically, I am intrigued by the behavioral and environmental effects on children's learning. My future goals are to enter graduate school in the area of school psychology or child psychology. I am excited to be part of this lab as it will grant me the invaluable opportunity to hone my research focus and skills as well as prepare for the challenging graduate school years ahead.

Graduate Student Alumni


Beth received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program) at the University of Houston in December 2013. Upon graduation, Beth accepted an Adjunct Professor position at Houston Baptist University. While at the lab, Beth was involved in research on the cognitive mechanisms associated with lexical processing in monolingual and bilingual children.

Beth Woods

Lab Alumni


In Fall 2014, Ashley entered a Masters program in Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Houston. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Ashley worked on multiple projects involving word learning.

Ashley Olvera


In Fall 2014, Hasina entered a doctoral program in Psychology at Texas A&M. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Hasina was involved in projects involving infant learning and the effect repeating environments have on learning.

Hasina Momin


In Fall 2014, Rebecca entered the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience doctoral program at the University of Houston. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Rebecca was involved in projects looking at cognitive control in billingualism.

Rebecca West


In Fall 2014, Jennifer entered a Masters program in Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Houston. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Jennifer worked on projects looking at infant learning and the effect repeating environments have on learning.

Jennifer Samuel


In Fall 2011, Maria entered a doctoral program in Developmental Psychology with an emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Maria worked on projects concerning the developmental trend of executive function among bilingual and monolingual children from various cultural backgrounds.

Maria Arredondo


In Fall 2011, Kevin entered a doctoral program in Developmental Psychology at the Ohio State University. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Kevin was involved in projects concerning the effects of previous perceptual and categorical learning on current information processing and attention allocation.

Kevin Darby


In Fall 2011, Jaymie entered a master’s program in School Psychology at the University of Houston—Clear Lake. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Jaymie worked on projects concerning saliency cues and attentional word learning patterns among children from different language learning environments, including children with Autism.

Jaymie Allen


In Fall 2010, Lauren entered a Master of Science program in Social Work (clinical concentration) at the University of Texas at Austin. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Lauren worked on projects exploring the role of object similarity in adjective learning.



In Fall 2008, Viridiana entered a doctoral program in Developmental Psychology at Indiana University. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Viridiana worked on projects concerning the effect of redundancy in early learning.

Viridiana Benitez


In Fall 2010, Nadeen entered a master’s program in Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. While at the Cognitive Development Lab, Nadeen worked on projects concerning the role of attentional switching in novel word mapping among monolingual and bilingual children.



Chancellor's Professor Of Psychology, 
Department Of Psychology And Brain Sciences Chair

Linda Smith


Associate Professor of Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University

Chen Yu


Research Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

Poorna K


Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Osaka University

Yukie Nagai