Mark Sheskin
Mark is the Head of Online Research for the lab’s online research platform and an Assistant Professor at Minerva Schools at KGI.
Mark can be contacted at More information, including CV, can be found at
Nicole Betz

At times, learning new ideas within science can seem almost effortless; in these cases, new concepts are fit seamlessly into our previous understandings of the world, and can be incorporated into our mental representations of the world without much effort. At other times, learning new ideas within science can be onerous and effortful; in these cases, it may be hard to determine how new concepts relate to previous understandings, and these concepts may never be integrated with our mental representations of the world. 

I am broadly interested in how common cognitive patterns or biases can contribute to both of these phenomena, and the implications thereof for understanding, acceptance, and engagement in science and technology. In other words, how might our cognitive biases or mental representations help and/or hinder scientific understandings? Of particular interest are the developmental trajectories of relevant cognitive frameworks and their influence on science engagement.

Danielle Faulkner
Danielle is the lab manager at the Cognition and Development Lab.  To get in touch with the lab, please contact her at
Sarah Joo
Sarah is a post-bac research associate in the lab. She is interested in how people decide on and interpret the questions they ask—and the answers they receive. For instance, “Why does the train run on tracks?” and “Why did the train run off the tracks?” are similar ‘why’ questions, but you likely have specific (and different!) expectations about what kind of information is being sought in each case. Her research suggests that understanding what constitutes a ‘good’ explanation starts by understanding what question it was meant to address in the first place. More broadly, Sarah is interested in the relationship between philosophic and folk understandings of causality, teleology, and explanation.