Social Learning Lab

Stanford University

Principal Investigator

Hyowon Gweon

website | CV | hyo [at]

I'm broadly interested in understanding the human ability to communicate – in particular, how we learn from others and teach others. My research brings together various approaches, aiming to provide a unified description of the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie the representations and inferential processes that allow us to learn and share about the world. As the PI of the Social Learning Lab, I'm thrilled to explore these questions with amazing people who all love to "learn from one another”!

Lab Manager

Grace Bennett-Pierre

gbp [at]

I am currently involved in projects investigating how children develop an understanding of difficulty and how they use this information to make decisions about their own and other’s goals. I'm also interested in how children use difficulty information to make inferences about other's competence, and to plan for future goals.


Yang Wu

website | yangwu1 [at]

Emotional cues are abundant in our daily lives. How do young children make sense of these cues? In my research, I study how infants and children use observed emotional signals to reason about the unknown world and to guide their learning and exploration. These abilities, I propose, are supported by an intuitive theory of emotion that is connected to children’s knowledge of the physical and social world broadly. The work spans methods from infant looking time measures to computational models. It advances our understanding of the remarkable human capacities to learn in social contexts, and bridges gaps across disciplines including developmental, cognitive and affective sciences.

Graduate Students

Mika Asaba

CV | masaba [at]

Who am I, and how do I know who I am? I am fascinated by how we form, maintain, and update representations of the self through observations and social interactions, and I am particularly interested in the developmental roots of these processes. My work is broadly centered around how young children learn about the self through interactions with others and how they strategically communicate about the self to others.

Sophie Bridgers

sbridge [at]

Currently, I study how children learn with others in different social contexts, and the implications for basic cognitive processes and learning outcomes. How might the presence of another mind affect the hypotheses a learner considers? Do the socio-dynamics of the environment impact a learner’s representation of the cost of information sharing? How, when, and why do children choose to teach others?

Natalia Vélez

nvelez [at]

Humans are efficient and adaptable learners, but we don't have to learn everything from scratch – some tasks, such as learning to drive a car or finding foods that are safe to eat, would be difficult, even dangerous, to do without gathering information from other people. My research explores how children and adults exploit the rich structure of the social world to decide when to learn from others and whom to learn from. I also designed this website!

Griffin Dietz

gdietz44 [at]

I am a doctoral student in Computer Science interested in the way that children's interactions and education are mediated and affected by technology. Currently, I am studying how child development should inform the way we teach computational thinking to young children. Specifically, how can we separate problem solving from programming to make Computer Science Education accessible to younger children?

Lab Affiliates

Juan Miguel Arias

Stanford Graduate School of Education

website | jmarias [at]

I am a doctoral candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, working with Bruce McCandliss' Educational Neuroscience Lab and with Amado Padilla on community-action cultural-psychological research. I study how students develop pedagogical identities and skills, and how teaching behaviors are jointly influenced by social perspective-taking skills and socially-mediated expectations of the purposes and methods of teaching.

Judy Fan

Computation & Cognition Lab, Stanford

website | jefan [at]

I'm interested in how visual perception, action, and social inference are coordinated to support learning and communication. To get at this, I derive inspiration from how people convey information by drawing. I received my PhD in cognitive psychology from Princeton in 2016, and my AB in neurobiology from Harvard in 2010.

Robert X.D. Hawkins

Computation & Cognition Lab, Stanford

website | rxdh [at]

I’m interested in the cognitive mechanisms that allow people to flexibly coordinate with one another; in particular, I study the formation of conventions and norms using multi-player experiments and computational models of communication and social reasoning.

Yuan Chang Leong

Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory

website | ycleong [at]

I study expectancy and motivational effects on learning and decision-making.

Research Assistants

Isabelle Morris

isabell2 [at]

I am a senior at Stanford majoring in psychology with a concentration in Health and Development. After I graduate, I plan to pursue my PhD in psychology and go into research. I am particularly interested in language acquisition in atypical language-learning populations, specifically Deaf and Autistic communities, and am currently learning ASL (American Sign Language).

Xi Jia Zhou

lauraxijia [at]

I’m a senior Minerva student concentrating in cognitive neuroscience and data science. Currently, I’m working in a project developing a novel tool to capture children’s behaviors. I’m particularly interested in human’s learning mechanisms, and I’m excited to see how we can build intelligent machines from understanding babies’ learnings. One day I hope that both the cognitive theories and AIs can be applied to help underprivileged children to learn better.

Past Graduate Students and Postdocs

Past Research Assistants

  • Sajjad Torabian (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Angelina Garron (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Huda Akef (Was: Research Assistant) – PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies Dept., UConn
  • Sumudu Rathnayake (Was: Research Assistant) – Behavioral Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
  • Chelsey Pan (Was: Honors Student '18) – Lab Manager, Sokol-Hessner Lab, University of Denver
  • James Daly (Was: Honors Student '17) – Lab Manager, Bauer Lab, Emory University
  • Griffin Dietz (Was: Honors Student '17) – PhD student in Computer Science Dept., Stanford
  • David Altman (Was: Research Assistant) - Medical student, Stanford University
  • Brett Anderson (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Valentina Ruiz-Jiménez (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Katelynn Ellam (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Ron Anderson (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Alyssa Lombardo (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Andrew McCabe (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Emily Tang (Was: Research Assistant) – Associate Product Manager Intern, LinkedIn

Past Summer Interns

  • Ginnie Kim (Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • Anne Roche (Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • DivineAsia Miller(Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • May Tran (Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • Emily Cang(Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • Isabel Nichoson(Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • Rhonda Sandifer(Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • Anutra Guru(Was: Summer Intern 2018)
  • Yena Kim (Was: Summer Intern 2017)
  • Alicia Leong (Was: Summer Intern 2017)
  • Natalie Wu (Was: Summer Intern 2017)
  • Maya Jones (Was: Summer Intern 2017)
  • Robert Henderson (Was: Summer Intern 2017)