Social Learning Lab

Stanford University

Principal Investigator

Hyowon Gweon

CV | Bio | 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

Teresa Garcia

teresamg [at]

Over the last 7 years, I have spend my time working as a preschool teacher, research assistant, psychology student, and lab manager. All of these experiences have taught me a lot about children's learning and development and have motivated me to keep on learning more so that I can one day apply my knowledge to help children, parents, and teachers create environments where we can help our preschoolers be good helpers, teachers, and learners.


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.

Kat Adams Shannon

kat.adams [at]

Kat studies how young children adapt their attention and learning behaviors to best match different early environments, with particular focus on understanding variability and strengths in contexts of early adversity. A key aim of her research is to create and collaborate on innovative uses of technology and statistical methods to support education and developmental science.

Graduate Students

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?

Aaron Chuey

chuey [at]

Reasoning about knowledge is both a ubiquitous and necessary part of human life. Without much effort, we can estimate how much others know, determine how valuable knowledge is, and efficiently transmit and obtain it ourselves. I study the way children think about knowledge and information to better understand where these intuitions come from and what underlies them.

Peter Zhu

pgzhu [at]

Humans are active learners and teachers - we integrate information from our environment, reason over it, and transmit it to others. I am interested in the processes and representations that enable this ability and their foundations in development. I hope to use a wide variety of methods to uncover more about how both children and adults learn and reason about our social world.

Research Coordinators

Joseph Outa

joouta [at]

I graduated in 2020 with a BA in Biology and Society from Cornell University. I’ve always been intrigued by the unseen forces that drive behavior, so during undergrad my research explored the covert emotional influences on moral decision making. I was intrigued to learn about the intricate relationship between moral and other cognitive domains, such as how social interactions mediate moral development. Currently, I am interested in exploring the mechanisms of operation and development of these domains across diverse cultural contexts. Ultimately, I hope this line of work will help develop interventions for achieving sustainable development milestones around the globe.

Research Assistants

Natalie Hampton

nhampton [at]

I am a junior at Stanford majoring in Psychology with a concentration in child development and minoring in Education. I am particularly interested in prosocial behavior in preschool-age children, how they decide who to help in difficult situations, and how adversity affects their ability to learn. I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the near future.

Lauren Kraemer Lowe

laurenkl [at]

I'm currently a Stanford undergrad majoring in Psychology on the Health and Development track. I’ve enjoyed every project I’ve had the opportunity to help with so far, but I’m particularly interested in children’s development of morality and empathy; how do we learn what is right and wrong and how is this shaped by our understanding of what others think and feel? In the future, I hope to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, but for now, I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to learn about research and spend invaluable time with children.

Bobby Sparks

bsparks [at]

I'm a rising senior at Stanford University studying Symbolic Systems with a focus in Cognitive Science. Looking to pursue studies in Counseling and Clinical Psychology, I'm excited to explore the developmental implications of social learning in relation to personal/interpersonal functioning and psychological pathology while contributing to the work being done in the SLL.

Samantha Leventis

samanthaleventis [at]

I am currently on a gap year and am excited to be attending Stanford this fall! I plan to study Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Cognitive Science. I am excited to work in the Social Learning Lab and delve further into this passion of developmental and social cognition. I’m ready to learn from my peers and soak up as much information as I can! I love researching and hope to one day go into academia.

Mackenzie Fidelak

mfidelak [at]

I am a rising senior at Stanford majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education. While I am not following a specific track, I am most interested in developmental and clinical psychology. I love interacting with children and am constantly amazed by how intelligent, curious, and creative they are. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the hopes of working with young children facing adversity.

Josie Andersen

josephine.andersen04 [at]

I am a recent high school graduate currently taking a gap year trying to gain as much experience in the field I plan to pursue prior to my collegiate career. I will begin my undergraduate degree in the fall of 2022 where I will be majoring in psychology. I am thrilled to be working in the Social Learning Lab and look forward to learning from others and contributing what I can.

Tiffany Liu

ttliu00 [at]

I am an undergrad at Stanford majoring in English and Symbolic Systems with a Learning Concentration. I am fascinated by the development of human social cognition, especially in the context of teaching and learning. In the SLL, I am excited to work with children and explore how humans understand and interact with each other, as well as the ways that different environmental, cultural, and cognitive factors impact people’s interpretations of their own minds and the minds of others.

Christy Wang

christyz [at]

I am an undergrad at Stanford majoring in Psychology and Economics. I am interested in how and why humans develop the frameworks we have for behavior and social reasoning. Through my research in SLL, I seek a deeper understanding of human cognitive and social development, which I hope to one day apply to a career in public service.

Ava DeConcini

avadecon [at]

I am a freshman at Stanford currently pursuing a pre-med track with Human Biology and a potential minor in Human Rights. I love working with kids and learning about cognitive science, so the SLL seemed like the perfect place to get started. I’m excited to be a part of the studies as well as this team as I learn more about myself and what I want to do.

Past Graduate Students and Postdocs

Sophie Bridgers [Website]

Sophie was a PhD student in the lab, supported by NSF GRFP; she defended her dissertation in May 2020, titled Social reasoning in action: Social-cognitive mechanisms supporting prosocial decisions in early childhood.

She is now a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard (Tomer Ullman) and MIT (Laura Schulz).

Natalia Vélez [Website]

Natalia was a PhD student in the lab, supported by NSF GRFP and NIH F99/K00 D-SPAN Fellowship. She defended her dissertation in May 2020, titled Minds, groups, and populations : harnessing the latent structure of social information .

After her post-doc training at Harvard (Sam Gershman, Fiery Cushman), she will be joining Princeton (Dept of Psychology) as an incoming Assistant Professor in Summer 2023!

Mika Asaba [Website]

Mika was a PhD student in the lab, supported by NSF GRFP. She defended her dissertation in June 2021, titled Social learning and communication about the self .

She is now a post-doctoral researcher at Yale (Julia Leonard, Julian Jara-Ettinger).

Past lab affiliates

Past Lab Managers & post-bac RAs

  • Brandon Carrillo (Was: Research Coordinator) - PhD student in Psychology, Yale University
  • Jessa Stegall (Was: Research Coordinator) - PhD Student in Psychology, Duke University
  • Xi Jia Zhou (Was: Research Cordinator) - PhD student in GSE, Stanford University
  • Mika Asaba (Was: Lab Manager '14-'16) - PhD student in Psychology, Stanford University
  • Stephen Sanders (Was: Lab Manager '19-'20)
  • Grace Bennett-Pierre (Was: Lab Manager '16-'19) - PhD student in Psychology, Temple University
  • Megan Merrick (Was: Research Coordinator) - PhD student in Developmental Psychology, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • Sajjad Torabian (Was: Research Assistant)
  • Angelina Garron (Was: Research Assistant)
  • - Student in UC Berkeley Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program
  • Huda Akef (Was: Research Assistant) – PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies Dept., University of Connecticut
  • Sumudu Rathnayake (Was: Research Assistant) – Behavioral Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Past Undergraduate Researchers & Summer Interns

  • Lauren Kramer Lowe (Was: PsychSummer '20, current lab member)
  • Bobby Zane Sparks (Was: SymSys Summer '20, current lab member
  • Peter Zhu (Was: CSLI Summer Intern '20, current lab member)
  • Natalia Velasco (Was: CSLI Summer Intern '21)
  • Auguste Seong (Was: Honors Student '20)
  • Colin Norick (Was: SymSys Summer '19
  • Charlotte Ostrow (Was: Summer Interm '19)
  • Natalie Hampton (Was: PsychSummer '19, current lab member)
  • Isabel Won (Was: CSLI Summer Intern '19)
  • Isabelle Morris (Was: Honors Student '19)
  • Chelsey Pan (Was: PsychSummer '15, Honors Student '18) – Lab Manager, Sokol-Hessner Lab, University of Denver
  • Sophie Kennedy Hearn (Was: PsychSummer '18, Research Assistant)
  • Emily Cang(Was: SymSys Summer '18)
  • DivineAsia Miller(Was: CSLI Summer Intern, 2018)
  • Ginnie Kim (Was: Summer Intern, 2018)
  • Anne Roche (Was: Summer Intern, 2018)
  • May Tran (Was: Summer Intern, 2018)
  • Isabel Nichoson(Was: Summer Intern, 2018)
  • Rhonda Sandifer(Was: Stanford Summer Program, 2018)
  • Anutra Guru(Was: Stanford Summer Program, 2018)
  • Maya Jones (Was: CSLI Summer Intern, 2017)
  • Yena Kim (Was: Summer Intern, 2017)
  • Alicia Leong (Was: Summer Intern, 2017)
  • Natalie Wu (Was: Summer Intern, 2017)
  • Robert Henderson (Was: Early Identification Program, 2017)
  • 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 University
  • Brett Anderson (Was: PsychSummer '17, Research Assistant)
  • - MA student in Social Welfare (UCLA) & Gerontology (USC)
  • Valentina Ruiz-Jiménez (Was: SymSys Summer '17, Research Assistant)
  • Fernanda Kramer (Was: PsychSummer '16)
  • David Altman (Was: SymSys Summer '16, Research Assistant) - Medical student, Stanford University
  • Michelle Wang (Was: CSLI Summer Intern, 2016)
  • 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
  • Grace Bennett-Pierre (Was: CSLI Summer Intern, 2015)