Team LDM

Top Row From Left: Aditya Vasavan, Ethan James Ludwin-Peery, Nicole Loncar. Middle Row: Ofelia Garcia, Anais Kessler, Simran Suresh, Divya Dayal. Bottom Row: Olivia Miller, Dr. Moira Dillon, Sara Okun. 

principal investigator



How does the physical world in which we live shape the abstract world in which we think? I address this question by exploring the development of uniquely human geometric understanding — from the basic spatial sensitivities of infants to the high-level spatial concepts of adults. I also broaden and deepen this exploration to ask how mathematical formalisms might have been ignited in the first geometers like Euclid and how they might be reignited in the minds of our children, those future mathematicians we send to school every day. In addition, I ask how our basic mechanisms of spatial perception and cognition might have even shaped our cultural development throughout historical time, such as the production of pictorial art, by investigating the geometry in children’s drawings.


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I am fascinated by how the human mind represents and reasons about our interactions within physical spaces. My previous research at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies explored causal perception and inferences and at the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab, focused on the acquisition of knowledge, energy efficiency, and pragmatics through theory of mind. As a side interest, I'm also fascinated by the developmental differences between human minds and artificial intelligence models. I received my B.A. from St. John's College.

Post-doctoral Research FEllow



I am a graduate in psychology and linguistics with an MPhil degree from the University of Oslo (Oslo, Norway) and a PhD degree from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU Trondheim, Norway). I have always been interested in how we, as humans, mentally represent the visual and spatial properties of the world around us, and how we express them in language, e.g. by using verbal expressions such as “under”, “to the left of”, “above”, or “behind”. Currently, my work focuses on exploring how these abilities (representing space and talking about space) are acquired from the earliest stages of cognitive development in children and how closely are they tied together. When I am not at the lab, you will find me at a dance school practicing contemporary dance or salsa, or at a yoga studio!

graduate students



I received my B.S. in Psychology from Tufts University, where my research focused on how social information affects adults’ judgments about space. I then taught first grade in the South Bronx, during which my research interests began to evolve. I am interested in how children perceive the world around them and how non-spatial cues affect spatial cognition. The way we communicate about space may lead to different interpretations of the very same space. For example, might children's drawings of a space change when the recipient of the picture is a parent instead of a researcher? What spatial details might children include when drawing a map instead of a picture? How do spatial intuitions develop before formal schooling? I also strive to create a stronger connection between developmental research and educational practice.


Somehow, people are able to symbolically represent and reason about a huge variety of topics. Despite some common and consistent errors, it appears that with practice we can think about just about anything. Does this ability come from a single, very general ability to represent different topics, or is it constructed from the combination of specialized representation abilities? And does every domain depend on the same ability to reason — or have we developed different sets of rules for reasoning in different domains? However these are organized, how do we develop such a complex network of representations?


I'm currently studying psychology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and previously studied math and physics in McMaster University's ultra-interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences program. Teaching math is a delicate balancing act: we need to ground abstract theorems in familiar ideas, and explain esoteric concepts with intuitive examples. But what are mathematical intuitions, anyway? What makes some problems so simple, while other cause mental road-blocks? I began exploring these questions in the lab during the summer of 2017, and continue to work on various projects while in Oxford.



I am a senior majoring in Psychology at New York University. I am interested in how children learn problem-solving skills from such a young age and the ways in which they utilize these skills in everyday interactions. It fascinates me how a child's early experiences shape the way that they approach situations. In my free time, I enjoy singing classical music, running, and going to the beach.

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I am a junior in NYU, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Chinese and potentially Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. I’m interested in Clinical Psychology, especially in concern with developing children and adolescents. Outside the lab, I am a part of the NYU Women’s Choir and enjoy doing puzzles.



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Sherry Bai

I am a sophomore majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing. I am interested in how children learn concepts of mathematics and hope that the result of such research can shed light on intervention projects targeting children from disadvantaged backgrounds and schools. Outside of the lab, I spend much of my time practicing yoga.



I am senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Policy and Management at NYU. I am interested in how people are able to turn something in the physical world into something abstract and the way our minds are shaped. Outside the lab, you'll find me reading a book or listening to music!



I am a senior studying Psychology as well as Child & Adolescent Mental Health at NYU. There is so much we don’t know about the psychology of children and young adults, I am fascinated by all there is to learn about the way our minds are shaped. Outside of the lab, you’ll often find me at an art exhibit or breaking a sweat!



I am a junior from NYU Abu Dhabi studying Psychology and Philosophy. I am interested in human consciousness and exploring the mind-brain connection using natural and philosophical sciences. My interest in developmental psychology comes from my capstone thesis aiming to find developmental precursors of self-schemas that cause major depressive disorders in adolescents. Outside the lab, I enjoy longboarding and finding places to journal in the city.

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I am a junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Computer Science. I am fascinated by how our experiences throughout our development contribute to our thought processes and our perception of the world. Outside the lab, I can be found taking pictures around the city!



I received my B.A. in Psychology from New York University. My previous research at NYU includes neurocognitive research at the Child Study Center and social psychology research at the West Interpersonal Perception Lab. I am interested in examining neural and behavioral correlates related to brain development and learning, specifically through the application of quantitative cognition techniques. Outside of the lab, I love playing with my dogs and baking.

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I am studying Psychology and Neuroscience at New York University, and I'm deeply interested in Child and Adolescent psychology. I hope to understand the complexity and efficiency with which children are able to make connections. My hobbies include playing tennis, swimming, and reading.



I am a junior from NYU Shanghai, studying away in New York.  I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art History. I am interested in child psychology (especially attention), social development, and how surroundings affects the development of thinking. Outside the lab, you can find me in art galleries and walking around New York!


Lab Managers

Nicole Loncar (2017-2019)

Ofelia Garcia (2018-2019)

Honors Thesis Students

Divya Dayal (2017-2018)

Research Assistants

Emilie Geesey (2018-2019), Ashley Zhang (2018), Gia Squitieri (2018), Anais Kessler (2017-2018), Maggie McAlister (2018)

Interested in joining US As A Student oR Volunteer? Fill out the form below!

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