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

Aneesa Conine-Nakano

sociallearninglab [at]

I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2022 with a B.A. in Psychology. My past research projects have focused on how language and cognitive processes in childhood interplay with the development of stereotypes. Currently, I am interested how children use cues, such as emotion and language, to make inferences about people and their environment.


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

Adani Abutto

aabutto [at]

As humans, we make part of and interact with the physical world while also holding a rich "inner world" per our minds. I aim to examine how our reasoning about various aspects of the "out there" and the "in here” arises, progresses, and interacts throughout development. How do our representations of self inform our judgments about our capacity to take various actions in the world? How do we integrate information from various sources – the results of our maneuvers, others' feedback, our reflective thinking – to iterate on representations of our mental and physical spaces? How do we coordinate thinking about ourselves, others, and our environment when sharing information with each other? I seek to use and learn about various methods in tackling these questions!

Aaron Chuey

chuey [at]

From birth, we occupy a world filled with people interacting and communicating. As observers, how do we make sense of communicative exchanges in order to learn from and about others? I study the inferences children draw from observing other people communicate, including what speakers and listeners know, where that knowledge came from, and how exogenous factors, such as auditory noise, might alter the outcome of a communicative exchange. I am also interested in how, as adults, we can levy these abilities to learn from diverse forms of communication, including broadcasting, messaging, and social media.

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

Grace Keene

gkeene [at]

I graduated from UC Berkeley where I completed my BA in philosophy and a minor in early childhood development and learning science. I was a research assistant in the Gopnik Lab where I engaged with studies that seek to understand the factors that influence children's decisions to explore or exploit their environment. I am broadly interested in expanding my understanding of different approaches in the field. Children's development of morality and beliefs about right and wrong also interests me. I am excited to learn more about children’s learning, behavior, and beliefs.

Research Assistants

Meghan Dontha

mdontha [at]

I am a senior at Stanford studying Psychology and minoring in Biology and Data Science. I'm currently working on the EALS project with Dr. Kat Adams Shannon. I'm interested in exploring how children adapt their behavior and emotions in response to adversity and, down the line, exploring the implications of experiencing early life adversity in a clinical context.

Eban Ebssa

eebssa [at]

I am a junior at Stanford majoring in Symbolic Systems, and I'm interested in many topics, including how people develop motivation and resilience. In the SLL, I develop iGibson VR environments to study how people reason about themselves in virtual worlds.

Catherine Qing

caqing [at]

I graduated from Indiana University in 2022 with a B.S. in Psychology and Informatics, and I am now pursuing my M.S. in Symbolic Systems at Stanford. Coming from a background in social psychology, I hope to learn more about how both children learn, reason, and communicate about our social world. I am currently exploring how noise can impact children's communication, specifically how their epistemic understanding of the consequences of noise impacts their own behavior.

Libby Rouffy

erouffy [at]

I am a junior at Stanford majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in child development and social learning. I am interested in how children learn about themselves and the world in unique social environments. In the SLL, I hope to explore how kids behave as both learners and teachers when drawing social inferences and to value their curiosity.

Serena Tran

serenalt [at]

I’m a junior studying Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Cognitive Science. I’m broadly interested in cognitive development and decline, social cognition, and learning and memory. Currently, I’m working with Dr. Kat Adams Shannon on the Environmental Adaptation in Learning Strategies (EALS) study.

Suzannah Wistreich

suzannah [at]

I am a junior at Stanford majoring in Computer Science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence and minoring in Psychology. I am interested in how humans are able to learn through inference and develop probabilistic reasoning about the world around them. In the SLL, I’m currently exploring how children make epistemic inferences by observing the language and actions of others.

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).

Griffin Dietz

Griffin was a PhD student in the lab, supported by NSF GRFP. She defended her dissertation in May 2022, titled Cognitively appropriate and readily accessible computing education technology for young learners.

Yang Wu [Website]

Yang was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab, supported by NSF.

She is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Past lab affiliates

Past Lab Managers & post-bac RAs

  • Joseph Outa (Was: Research Coordinator) - PhD student in Psychology, Johns Hopkins University
  • Teresa Garcia (Was: Lab Manager '20-'22) - PhD student in Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park
  • 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

Undergraduate Researchers & Summer Interns

  • Karen Barrera (Stanford): Fall 2023 – present
  • Chuqi Hu (Stanford): Fall 2023 – present
  • Juliane Gruß (Stanford): Fall 2023 – present
  • Catarina Rezende (Stanford): Fall 2023 – present
  • Sheina Goldman (Stanford): Fall 2023 – present
  • Ellie Aasted (Stanford): Summer 2023 – present
  • Veronica Aranda (Stanford): Summer 2023 – present
  • Tanya Nazlukhanyan (College of San Mateo): Summer 2023 – present
  • Serena Tran (Stanford): Summer 2023 – Fall 2023
  • Suzannah Wistreich (Stanford): Spring 2023 – present
  • Eban Ebssa (Stanford): Spring 2023 – Fall 2023
  • Meghan Dontha (Stanford): Winter 2023 – present
  • Annabelle Stoker (Stanford): Winter 2023 – present
  • Elisa Rivas (Stanford): Winter 2023 – Spring 2023
  • Catherine Qing (Stanford): Fall 2022 – present
  • Libby Rouffy (Stanford): Fall 2022 – Fall 2023
  • Rachel Wang (Stanford): Summer 2022 – Winter 2023
  • Día Gonzalez (Stanford): Summer 2022 – Fall 2022
  • Juelle Ford (UC Riverside): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2022
  • Tiffany Liu (Stanford), Fall 2021 – Fall 2022
  • Christy Wang (Stanford): Fall 2021 – Winter 2022
  • Natalia Valesco (Minerva School): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2021
  • Mackenzie Fidelak (Stanford): Summer 2021 – Spring 2022
  • Lauren Kramer Lowe (Stanford): Summer 2021 – Spring 2022
  • Bobby Sparks (Stanford): Winter 2020 – Spring 2022
  • Peter Zhu (Johns Hopkins University): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2020
  • Charlotte Ostrow (Stanford): Summer Intern 2019
  • Isabel Won (Johns Hopkins University): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2019
  • Natalie Hampton (Stanford): Summer 2019 – Spring 2022
  • Kate Littlejohn (Stanford): Spring 2019 – Winter 2020
  • Denise Lopez Sosa (Stanford): Winter 2019 – Spring 2020
  • Stephanie Chang (Stanford): Winter 2019 – Spring 2020
  • Chuyi Alexander Yang (Stanford): Winter 2019 – Spring 2020
  • Nirali Chandaria (Stanford): Winter 2019 – Spring 2019
  • Sofia Schlozman (Stanford): Winter 2019 – Spring 2019
  • Auguste Seong (Stanford): Spring 2020 – Spring 2021
  • Isabelle Morris (Stanford): Spring 2017 – Spring 2019
  • Kayler Detmer (Stanford): Fall 2018 – Winter 2019
  • DivineAsia Miller (Amherst College): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2018
  • Emily Cang (Stanford): SymSys Summer Internship 2018
  • Ginnie Kim (University of Rochester): Summer Intern 2018
  • Anne Roche (University of Colorado, Boulder): Summer Intern 2018
  • Isabel Nichoson (Wellesley College): Summer Intern 2018
  • Rhonda Sandifer (Stanford): Stanford Summer Program 2018
  • Anutra Guru: Stanford Summer Program 2018
  • Molly Irvin (Stanford): Winter 2018 - Spring 2019
  • Colin Norick (Stanford): Winter 2018 – Fall 2019
  • Jenny Han (Stanford, Symbolic Systems): Winter 2018 – Spring 2018
  • Xi Jia Zhou (Minerva School): Winter 2018 – June 2021
  • Julia Gillette (Stanford): Winter 2018 – Spring 2018
  • Kevin Ji (Stanford): Winter 2018 – Spring 2018
  • Ayushi Chandaria (Stanford): Winter 2018 – Spring 2018
  • Sophie Hearn (Stanford): Fall 2017 – Summer 2018
  • Grace Wang (Stanford): Fall 2017 – Winter 2018
  • Robert Henderson (Yale): Stanford Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) 2017
  • Maya A. Jones (Spelman College): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2017
  • Sara Altman (Stanford, SymSys): Spring 2017-Spring 2018 (Master’s Thesis Student)
  • Valentina Ruiz Jiménez (Stanford, Symbolic Systems): Winter 2017 – Fall 2017
  • David Altman (Stanford, Psychology): Summer 2016 – Spring 2017 (UAR grant recipient)
  • Fernanda Kramer (Stanford, Psychology): Summer 2016 – Spring 2017
  • Michelle Wang (Wellesley College): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2016
  • Jimmy Daly (Stanford, Psychology): Winter 2016 – Spring 2017
  • Brett Anderson (Stanford, Psychology): Winter 2016 – Winter 2017
  • Patrick Gibson (Stanford, Psychology): Winter 2016 – Summer 2016
  • Avani Singh (Stanford): Fall 2015 - Summer 2016; Fall 2017 – Spring 2018
  • Grace Bennett Pierre (Wellesley): CSLI Summer Internship Program 2015
  • Emily Tang (Stanford, Computer Science): Spring 2015
  • Andrew C. McCabe (Stanford, Psychology): Spring 2015 – Summer 2015
  • Chelsea Pan (Stanford, Psychology): Winter 2015 – Spring 2018 (UAR grant recipient)
  • Alyssa Lombardo (Stanford, Psychology): Winter 2015 – Spring 2015
  • Ronald Anderson (Stanford, Psychology): Winter 2015 – Spring 2015
  • Ilona Bass (Oberlin University): Summer 2013 – 2014 (Undergraduate Honors Thesis)