Principal Investigator

Athena Vouloumanos
Is speech a special sound for humans? What is it about language (and humans) that makes language acquisition a uniquely human accomplishment? Dr. Vouloumanos's research addresses these broad questions by exploring the linguistic and cognitive abilities of adults and young infants, including newborns. Her findings have been published in journals such as Science, Cognition, Developmental Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Graduate Student

Andrea Sorcinelli
andrea dot sorcinelli at nyu dot edu
Andrea is a first year graduate student in the Cognition and Perception Program. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Andrea worked as a research assistant at Haskins Laboratories under Nicole Landi, Julia Irwin and Jonathan Preston where she used EEG/ERP to examine language functioning in special populations. Andrea is interested in speech perception, electrophysiology and the early identification of children who are at high risk for developing autism spectrum disorder. In her free time, Andrea enjoys cooking and hiking with her dog, Kayla.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Davie Yoon
davie dot yoon at gmail dot com
Davie joins the lab as a postdoc with a PhD and BSc from Stanford, an MSc from the University of London, and training in ABA – each time focusing on how visual perception supports social cognitive development. Projects include: how infant perception and memory is influenced by biological motion, direct gaze, and pointing; what human facial features grab the attention of domesticated and nondomesticated canids; how children and adults from a remote tribe interpret visual symbolic materials; how individual differences in mutual gaze impact perceived sociality, and how the cortical face processing network develops in childhood. She is excited to join the autism study team and explore the city with her wondermutt, Rossi.

Lab Manager

Peter Liebenson
peter dot liebenson at nyu dot edu
Peter graduated from Swarthmore College with a double major in Psychology and Film & Media Studies. He has experience working in children's media, education, and psychology. He is interested in what children understand about media, along with how media can best speak to children at different stages of development. As lab manager, he loves interacting with parents and children while exploring what infants understand about various communicative acts. He is deeply fond of Japanese green tea, old-timey pirates, and long-form improv.

Project Manager

Amy Yamashiro
amy dot yamashiro at nyu dot edu
Amy graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in Psychology and minor in English. She is interested in the concepts of Applied Behavior Analysis and how they pertain to the learning styles of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She plans on pursuing a graduate degree in ABA with a focus on Autism. Because she was born and raised in Southern California, she loves everything about the beach. She also enjoys cooking, watching movies, listening to music, reading, and dancing in her free time.

Research Assistants

Jennifer Saad

Jennifer is a senior in the College of Arts and Science majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Chemistry. She is a pre-med student with hopes of becoming a pediatrician, although she believes pediatrics is one of medicine's most difficult fields. She finds working with children very enjoyable and is determined to better her understanding of children's communication. Born and raised in Queens, Jennifer is a fan of the NY Mets and loves to explore different cultural cuisines that New York has to offer.


Emily Harris
Emily is a Masters student in the General Psychology Program. She graduated from Wright State University with a BS in Psychology and began her graduate school career at The Ohio State University before transferring to NYU. As an undergraduate student, Emily worked in a Behavioral Neuroscience lab under Dr. Gale Kleven where she used ultrasound visualizations for diagnosis of developmental disorders in animal models. Her interest remains in the early diagnosis of developmental disorders, with a focus on language development in children at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing and listening to all genres of music, watching movies, cooking, completing jigsaw puzzles, and exploring New York City.


Alyssa McGillivray
Alyssa is a Masters student in the General Psychology Program. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelors of Applied Sciences in Psychology with a minor in Linguistics. Alyssa's primary interests are the Psychology of Language, Cognitive Psychology, and Child Psychology. She has enjoyed working with children through various jobs and volunteer activities in the past and would like to work with children in the future. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys photography, being outdoors, reading, and playing board games.

Michelle Dynov
Michelle is a senior and currently pursuing her B.A. in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Brooklyn College. She plans on graduating in May 2014 and will then go on to pursue her M.S. in Speech Pathology. Working with children through Make- A -Wish Foundation has inspired Michelle to further her research to gain a better understanding of children’s communication, primarily with children at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.