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Faculty and Research Interests


Name Research Interests
Scott A. Adler WebsiteE-mail Infants’ visual, attentional and perceptual development from a neuroscience perspective.  Specific topics include the relation between various cognitive processes in young infants’ formation of future-oriented expectations for the spatial, temporal, and content information of visual events; the interface between visual expectations and memory processes; development of mechanisms for selective attention and visual search; development of object recognition; and the processes involved in infants’ control and execution of eye movements.
Ellen Bialystok WebsiteE-mail Lifespan development and the effect of experience on modifying cognitive change across the lifespan. Experiences that are studied include bilingualism and musical expertise. Research methods that are used include behavioural studies of performance and neuroimaging techniques to identify brain correlates of performance. Populations that are investigated include children, young adults, older adults, and patients, including those with dementia. Focus is on the adaptation of cognitive systems to changing experience throughout life.

Nicholas Cepeda

Website| E-mail: ncepeda at

Changes in cognitive flexibility and executive function across the lifespan, with an emphasis on childhood development (e.g., task switching, working memory, and inhibition). Development and real-world validation of tools for teachers that are based on cognitive psychology principles (e.g., spacing and testing effects). Effects of musical training, nutrition, and meditation practice on cognition and academic achievement. Behavioral, EEG / ERP, and eye tracking methodologies are used to address these questions.
Vinod Goel WebsiteE-mail Cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. Understanding the cognitive and neurophysiological structures and process underlying human reasoning and problem solving abilities. Verbal protocol analysis studies of normal and patient populations, computational modeling, and neuroimaging techniques involving Postron Emission Tomography (PET) and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI). Bridging the “gap” between cognitive and neurophysiological vocabularies.
Janice Johnson WebsiteE-mail Cognitive development, individual differences, and cognitive process analysis. Culture-fair assessment of cognitive capacity in mainstream and special developmental samples (e.g., deaf, gifted, ESL, language delayed); children’s intuitive reasoning in mathematics; measurement of executive functions in children and adults; cognitive style and language processing; cognitive-developmental factors in metaphor comprehension; mental arousal/motivation as factors in cognitive performance.
Maria Legerstee WebsiteE-mail Focus is on infant and early child development. I have a long standing interest in socio-cognitive development in infancy (e.g., intersubjectivity and quality of relationships with parents), and how infant awareness of mental states affects infant and child functioning. Most of my work examines the joint, interactive effects of environmental/parenting factors on child development and parenting during the early years of life. Most of my work is interdisciplinary and involves graduate students. My students draw from the projects they work on in developing their own areas of expertise and are actively involved in all phases of research, from data collection and coding and data analysis, to being co-authors and lead authors on presentations and peer-reviewed papers.
Anne E. Russon WebsiteE-mail Comparative/evolutionary studies of nonhuman primates, especially the great apes (orangutans, chimpanzees) and especially cognitive development.  Major topics of interest include: imitation and other forms of social learning, tool use, ecological problem solving (arboreal and foraging problems), and the evolution of primate and great ape intelligence. Field studies of various facets of orangutan intelligence and cognitive ecology in free-ranging ex-captive orangutans in Indonesian Borneo.
Stuart G. Shanker WebsiteE-mail Professor Shanker has recently been awarded a private donation from the Harris Foundation to direct the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative (MEHRI) at York University. Research being conducted at MEHRI is broadly focused on understanding how parent-child relationships shape children’s social/emotional and brain development. MEHRI is creating a body of research that explores the critical role of emotion in the evolution and development of language, intelligence, social skills and intelligence. It is particularly involved in studying these processes in children with developmental disorders. This work has been extended to include the study of parenting behavior in nonhuman primates.
Emeritus Faculty
Name Research Interests
Joanna Blake E-mail The development of language and cognition. Prelinguistic development and the relation of babbling, gestures and sensorimotor abilities during infancy to the acquisition of language. Phylogenetic continuity in precursors to language. Cognitive correlates of language impairment.
Juan Pascual-Leone WebsiteE-mail Cognitive processes; neuropsychology of event-related brain potentials; developmental processes; measurement of mental attentional capacity; human learning, individual differences and styles; infancy, adulthood and aging.  Logical methods of task analysis and constructive epistemology; a neo-Piagetian approach to cognitive processes, intelligence/cognitive style, development and its neuropsychology, semantic psycholinguistics and adult development.