The CDSC Lab

Principal Investigator

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Associate Professor of Psychology
Email: marjorie dot rhodes at nyu dot edu
CV: click here

My research examines conceptual development and the development of social cognition. In conceptual development, my work focuses on categorization: How do children categorize different kinds of objects? Does category structure vary by domain? How do children use categories to guide their inferences and behavior? How does information about within-category variability influence individuals' concepts? In the development of social cognition, my work examines how children categorize people, as well as the implication of social categories for children's behavior, social inference, and moral cognition.

Professional Research Staff


Lab Manager
Email: daryl dot ocampo at nyu dot edu

I graduated from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a working concentration of Cognitive Development. My concentration combined aspects of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy to explore how we develop our minds and the way we think and the thoughts we think. After exposure to developmental courses in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, I realized that I wanted to focus my study of the mind and the brain on children. In my free time, I enjoy taking scenic photos and exploring hidden gems in the city. I am also a big geek who enjoys sci-fi movies, fantasy novels, and anime.


Research Coordinator
Email: jb6866 at nyu dot edu

As a research coordinator at CDSC, I help to run studies and process data collected at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2018 with a BA in Cognitive Science, where I discovered my interest in developmental research. I am most interested in pursuing research topics that focus on intergroup bias, status, culture, advantage/ disadvantage, and inequality. Outside of lab, I enjoy traveling and trying new foods.


Research Coordinator
amanda dot cardarelli at nyu dot edu

After receiving my MA from Boston College in applied developmental and educational psychology, I went to teach at in international school in Ecuador for two years and then continued working with children while traveling around the world. Now, as a technical research associate at the CDSC Lab, I am combining my background in education with our cognitive research to design and implement an intervention to increase interest and persistence in science in young children. 

Research Coordinator
Email: mmr518 at nyu dot edu

I am a recent graduate of New York University with a BA in Psychology. I am interested in how children’s educational experiences are affected by their environment. I plan to continue my studies in child psychology, and hope to work with children in a psychological capacity in a school-setting. Currently in the lab, I am a part of various projects that examine children’s engagement in science, and preventing racial bias in childhood.

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Dani Schuler
Research Coordinator
Email: dns337 at nyu dot edu

I recently graduated with my master’s in psychology from NYU. I began my work with CDSC in the Spring of 2018 as a student research assistant. Currently, I work as a research associate in the lab and focus primarily on running in-person studies with pre-school and elementary school children as well as forging new research partnerships in the greater NYC community. Outside of the lab, I enjoy biking, making attempts at baking, and forcing my cat to hang out with me.

Graduate Students

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PhD Student
Website: click here
Email: emily dot fosterhanson at nyu dot edu
CV: click here

My research focuses on cognitive development and category structure. I study how kids and adults think about different categories, like animal kinds or groups of people. For example, some of my recent research at the American Museum of Natural History examines how reasoning about biological kinds changes across development and tests strategies to increase young children's awareness of biological variability. In other work, I also study how language conveys information about category structure and young children's early normative beliefs about what people are supposed to do and be like. 


PhD Student
Website: click here
CV: click here
Email: moty at nyu dot edu

Broadly, I'm interested in the role language plays in children's conceptual development, both through what was explicitly said but also through what children can implicitly infer from subtle features of language. One line of my research examines the kinds of information children infer from the language used to talk about social groups, the mechanisms that underlie such inferences, and the implications of these inferences for how children think about the world, in particular as it pertains to perpetuating bias and stereotypes. In other research, I explore children's sensitivity to variability versus homogeneity within categories across multiple domains.

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PhD Student
Email: rachel dot a dot leshin at gmail dot com

After working as a research coordinator at NYU for two years, I am excited to be pursuing my doctoral studies in the CDSC lab. I am broadly interested in the development of social categories, and the specific ways in which children learn to think about these categories (e.g., as more or less human, as innate vs. societally constructed, etc.). My interest in these topics grew out of my undergraduate experience at Northwestern, where I majored in psychology and gender studies and worked in a developmental lab. I am affiliated with the social psychology program at NYU, and am looking forward to conducting research at the intersection of social and developmental psychology.

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Michelle Wang
PhD Student
Email: michelle dot wang at nyu dot edu

After graduating from Wellesley and then working as a lab manager for two years, I'm excited to pursue my doctoral studies at NYU and the CDSC Lab. Broadly, I am interested in how children's individual experiences shape how they perceive the world and, consequently, how their perception of others affects their behaviors. I am also interested in how children revise and update their beliefs about the world and the kind and amount of information required for them to do so. In my free time, I enjoy traveling to new places and reading detective novels.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Email: mtrizzo7 at gmail dot com
CV: click here

As a postdoctoral research fellow in the CDSC lab, I am broadly interested in children’s social and moral development. In particular, my current research focuses on the developmental predictors of racial bias in early childhood including a range of peer and parental influences, as well as how children’s own developing conceptions of race and status relate to their racial biases. Relatedly, during my graduate work, I investigated the interplay between children’s moral reasoning, intergroup attitudes, and their ability to consider others’ mental states (theory of mind) and perspectives.

Research Assistants


Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergraduate double majoring in Psychology and Biology. I have worked closely with children throughout the years as a tutor, book club leader, and as a volunteer at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth Texas. In the future, I hope to attend medical school and become a pediatric surgeon. When not working or studying; I love to read, run, hang out with my friends, and discover new music.


Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am an undergraduate student in the SPS division of NYU, where I major in Media Studies. I am interested in the role of language in education, and how best to diminish bias  - potentially using technology as a constructive educational medium. In my free time l like to go to concerts, collect records, and practice martial arts. 


Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergrad student at NYU studying Psychology with a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies minor and an interest in cognition and neuroscience. I have always loved working with children and want to study how this important stage in our cognitive development shapes the adults we become one day. I am interested in how our early categorization and language exposure affects our development and adult opinions. During my free time, you can find me photographing the city or my cats, playing video games, or obsessing over the smell of Lush bath bombs. 

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a freshman in the Liberal Core Program at NYU and hope to major in Applied Psychology and minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. I am particularly interested in how children view gender and sexuality and hope that being a research assistant at CDSC can help me understand how children develop their own opinions and ideas of right and wrong. In my free time, I love to bake, read, and swim!

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Applied Psychology and minoring in Philosophy and Linguistics. I have always loved neuroscience and cognition. I am interested in studying how children learn from their environment am fascinated by how family and other societal factors impact childhood development. I plan on getting a Psy.D and practice as a Clinical Psychologist in the future. In my free time, you can find me exploring the city, trying new food, hiking or teaching yoga. 

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Arb Kasemsantitham
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergraduate student, majoring in Psychology and double minoring in English and CAMS. I am mainly interested in social psychology and social cognition. There is just something so profound about how people influence one another on a day to day basis, and also to how children interact with the world around them.  In the future, I hope to venture into pediatric/clinical child psychology. Outside of class, I like to paint, write, and watch thriller films with my friends. However, if Manhattan was closer to the coast, I would definitely go sailing every morning.

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Angela Sorensen
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergraduate at NYU studying Psychology with a minor in Sociology. I have extensive experience working with children, and I am fascinated by how they come to understand and make sense of the complex world around them. While working in the CDSC lab, I hope to investigate many different areas of developmental research in order to explore my wide range of interests within child development. In the future, I hope to attend grad school and eventually obtain a P.h.D. In my free time, I enjoy drawing, going to concerts, watching scary movies and snuggling with my dog.

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Alison De Leon
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergraduate at NYU majoring in Psychology on the pre-health track, with a minor in chemistry. Working with children in the past, I have realized that children are truly the masters of their own worlds. It’s amazing to watch how they take in so much at such a young age. With that said, I hope to explore my interests in developmental psychology while in the CDSC Lab. More specifically, I hope to understand how children categorize different social groups, like race and gender, to create their own ideas about the world they live in. One day, I hope to apply my knowledge and research to my career goal as a pediatric surgeon. Outside of school, if I’m not binge-watching on my phone, I’ll be reading a thriller novel. Besides that, I also love to play volleyball and dance.

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Sofia Anastacio
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a current undergraduate at NYU in the Liberal Arts Core program, hoping to eventually major in psychology. I have always enjoyed working with children and am extremely interested in the practical work of psychological experiments. I hope to work in different areas of psychology to better understand what I am most interested in and inclined to pursue. In my free time, I enjoy reading, exploring new food destinations and watch horror movies.

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Wendy Wang
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a sophomore majoring in Psychology in NYU CAS. I came from Shanghai. I enjoy working with children and interested in how childhood experience shape the adult we one day become. I want to become a Clinical Psychologist one day. In my free time, I like knitting and watching cute animal videos.

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Lily Kunkel
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently an undergraduate student studying Biology on the pre-health track with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Growing up as a Camp Director's kid, and now working at a summer camp myself, has demonstrated to me just how much I can learn about myself and the world from spending time with children. This has encouraged me to strive towards a better understanding of how they structure their worlds in order to better empower and support them. Beyond the lab, I love arts & crafts, spending time outdoors (especially in the lovely Pacific Northwest I call home when I'm not in New York), meditating, and baking.

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Dasha Troya
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a sophomore at CAS studying Psychology with specific interest in Cognitive Neuroscience program. I am excited by how our brain functions, how its different parts affect various aspects of our behavior, perception and decision-making. I am hoping to gain new experience while working with children at the CDSC Lab. 

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Naya Anwar
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am currently a junior at NYU majoring in Psychology. I am curious to understand how children develop categorizations of the world and uncover ways that categorizations affect one's behavior and socialization. Furthermore, I am interested in how language plays a role in children’s attempt to categorize abstractions around them. Ultimately, I hope to hone my skills in writing, research and analyzing data in the CDSC lab to prepare myself for Graduate school. My passion beyond working in the lab includes dancing, photography, and watching live performances.

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Courteney Celestin
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am from New York City and am currently an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences at NYU studying psychology on the pre-law track with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. With the experience I have working with both kids and mentoring teenage students of color, I am really interested in how developmental psychology intersects with identity, such as with race, gender, class, and language. While in the CDSC lab, I am hoping to continue exploring that intersection by learning about how kids categorize themselves and other people into social groups, as well as how their parents can learn more about their kids based on how they do this. Outside of the classroom, I love reading, traveling, watching action movies, and eating good food.