Temporal Dynamics of Memory

This is my thesis work at Indiana University. We developed a dynamic process model of memory and focused on perceptual encoding processes. We found evidence that information sampling is ongoing during encoding of stimuli and may precede the onset of the accumulation process that drives recognition decisions.


I ran a number of experiments varying the diagnosticity of information. The results show patterns of behavior that fall out of the predictions of our model and cannot be readily explained by previous models. 

Pedagogical Bayes

This is my undergraduate honors thesis and the winner of the UC Berkeley Cognitive Science Department's distinguished research prize. The research explored a Bayesian model of pedagogical reasoning that predicts that students may make stronger inferences in their learning under the assumption that a teacher is selecting information with pedagogical intent. The mechanisms underlying this process may provide some explanation of how humans accumulate knowledge over generations. 

Models and Simulations for Science Education

A Literature review exploring the use of models and simulations as tools for explanation in both science and education. A major approach to science education reform has been to note the importance of modeling and simulations as key methods used by scientists to represent theories to each other. The ubiquitous role of modeling in scientific practice might suggest a similar role in classrooms. This paper examines how scientists think in practice to provide insights into how students might reason similarly in classrooms. 

Causal Reasoning

A literature review exploring causality and the ways that people perceive, infer, and reason with causal structures. I examined a number of formal models, particularly Bayesian networks for they are often held as the normative theory of causal reasoning. Ultimately I provide findings that demonstrate that human causal reasoning does indeed rely on information and representations that fall outside of the best normative models. 

Categorization and Recognition

A literature review examining relationships between the processes of episodic memory and categorization. Memory storage and perceptual categorization involve knowledge structures derived from experience, but many theories posit distinct cognitive systems to explain phenomena. This paper explores the similarities and differences in representations and processes that support memory and categorization. I attempt to uncover evidence that either supports unifying theories or keeping them as separate distinct processes. 

Cultural Transmission

This project explored a model of cumulative cultural evolution. This is a process by which humans increase knowledge over multiple generations. While the model is essentially a search to minimize error, it is achieved through a sort of swarm intelligence. The cover story is that each node is a human, and humans need spears get food. The search space is a spear with numerous discrete and continuous variables that determine the quantity of food gathered.  Humans are allowed to make small adjustments to their spears and communicate with their neighbors. In this way, optimal spears can be quickly found and spread throughout the network. 

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Tools and Languages:

R, Python

Tools and Languages:


Tools and Languages: