Lab Director

Yarrow Dunham is an assistant professor of psychology and cognitive science and the director of the SCD Lab. He completed his doctorate at Harvard University working with Mahzarin Banaji and Susan Carey, and has previously taught at Princeton and UC Merced. Outside the research world, his interests include exploring the great outdoors, the NBA, growing things in the garden, and an unhealthy obsession with his two cats, Bowser and Zoe.

Lab Manager

Helena Wippick is the lab manager for the SCD Lab. She graduated from Bard College in 2016 with a degree in psychology. She is interested in the development of social category concepts and intergroup cognition. 


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Lisa Chalik is a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham and Karen Wynn. She completed her PhD at NYU, where she worked with Marjorie Rhodes. Her research investigates the development of intergroup cognition, primarily focusing on how infants and young children incorporate social categories into their moral judgments.

Nadia Chernyak is a postdoctoral researcher. She received her PhD in developmental psychology from Cornell University. Her previous research has focused on how children form ideas about choice, and how choice might meaningfully relate to our emerging prosocial behavior. Presently, she is interested generally in social reciprocity, numerical cognition, and prosocial behavior across the early to middle childhood range. She mainly works at Boston University with Peter Blake and Boston College with Sara Cordes.

You-jung Choi is a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham, Laurie Santos, and Karen Wynn. Her main research area is social cognitive development in infancy and early childhood. Specifically, she studies development of theory of mind understanding and moral reasoning.

Antonia Misch is a postdoctoral fellow. She completed her Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, working primarily with Malinda Carpenter and Harriet Over. She studies the development of intergroup cognition in children.

Jonathan Schulz is a postdoctoral fellow, having previously worked at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on cross-cultural differences in social norms and decision making. He has conducted experiments all around the globe, investigating societal differences in intrinsic honesty and cooperation. He is particularly interested in the permeability of societies' network structures and its effect on moral behavior.

Fan Yang is a post-doctoral researcher working with Dr. Dunham. Fan is interested in social cognitive development, especially children’s understanding about groups and mental states. Fan also investigates how culture influences development by conducting cross-cultural studies in America and China.

Graduate Students

Richard Ahl is a fourth-year Ph.D. student at Yale. He studies how children use information about others’ preferences to inform their social judgments. Specifically, how might children differentially value information about others’ likes vs. dislikes? He is also interested in exploring the reasons underlying children’s social preferences for resource-rich individuals. Rick also works with Frank Keil in the Cognition and Development Lab.

Dorsa Amir is a PhD student in the Yale biological anthropology department. She studies the extent to which culture and ecology can impact cognition, how individuals may utilize environmental cues to make decisions, and how these processes change across development. To provide a cross-cultural perspective, Dorsa conducts fieldwork with hunter-horticulturalists of the Ecuadorean Amazon as part of the Shuar Health and Life History Project

Ashley Jordan is a second-year Ph.D. student working with Yarrow Dunham and Karen Wynn. Broadly speaking, she is interested in how infants and young children think about social partners and group membership. In the SCD lab, her research focuses on how children weigh category-level and individual-level information when reasoning about others’ relationships. Additionally, she studies how social messages from adults impact early preferences for similar others.


Alexander Noyes is a second-year graduate student working with Yarrow Dunham and Frank Keil. He is primarily interested in concepts-categories and their relationship to causal reasoning. In Professor Dunham's lab, he explores children and adult's causal beliefs about social categories, such as race and gender.

Gina Roussos is a graduate student in the Social Psychology Ph.D. program working mainly with Jack Dovidio but also with Yarrow Dunham. Her work at the SCD Lab examines the development of prejudice and stereotyping in preschool age children.

Nathan Vasquez is a participant in the ESI Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program working with Dr. Dunham. He is interested in studying intergroup cognition in children and understanding how group membership influences children's beliefs about others. 



Bianca Li is a sophomore undergraduate student at Yale University majoring in cognitive science. Her current interests are in language acquisition, particularly bilingualism in young children, the cognitive processes behind this capability, and how children navigate and perceive their bilingualism. Apart from being an RA in the SCD lab, Bianca is a member of the Yale Mock Trial Association, where she finds profound joy in arguing fake cases as a fake attorney with fake witnesses. Her other hobbies include running and misplacing her phone several times per day.

Shirley Duong is a senior psychology major at the University of New Haven. She is interested in studying children's social group affiliations and biases. As an RA in the SCD Lab, she works with Richard Ahl and Alexander Noyes on their studies. She enjoys reading articles, calling parents, and running kids in studies. Fun fact: She has traveled around the country, marching in a world class drum and bugle corps.

Dani Schulman is a freshman in Davenport and deciding between Cognitive Science, East Asian studies, and Environmental Studies Majors. The key to successful micro and macro scale human interaction is communication, so she loves working in the lab because understanding the way children perceive difference in social groups is the first step in overcoming bias and learning to hear others. In her free time she sings in jazz an a cappella group, and loves to read 19th century fiction. 

Lab Alumni

Shaina Coogan was the former lab manager for the SCD Lab. She graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University in 2013 with a degree in psychology. In fall 2016, Shaina will begin a Master of Public Health program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Marina Ebert worked on a study of the developmental origins of gratitude and its effects on prosocial behavior, specifically focused on distinguishing the complex emotion of gratitude from generally positive mood and whether feeling gratitude may lead to a greater chance of helping a stranger. In addition, Marina is conducting an evaluation of a novel assessment of mood and emotion understanding among young children. She is currently a researcher at Harvard’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies focusing on musical cognition. When not involved in research, Marina enjoys leading kids’ yoga lessons and dancing adult Argentine tango.

Suzanne Horwitz was a graduate student in the Yale social psychology department working with John Dovidio. Broadly, her research examines the role that social psychological processes play in perpetuating societal wealth inequality. She is currently completing her dissertation on the causes and consequences of implicit wealth bias. In the fall of 2015, she will begin as a postdoctoral researcher with Balazs Kovacs.

Katherine McAuliffe was a postdoctoral fellow working with Yarrow Dunham and Laurie Santos. She studies fairness from a developmental and evolutionary perspective.