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The Research Team

(From left to right): Emily D’Antonio (Lab Manager), Grace Bennett-Pierre (Graduate Student), Lexi Sylverne (Lab Manager), Dr. Elizabeth Gunderson, Nadia Tavassolie (Graduate Student), Joei Camarote, Jules Mirales, Xinhe Zhang (Graduate Student), Dr. Jing Tian (Postdoctoral Researcher), Jammie Ashley Letona, Caitlin Romanelli.


Dr GundersonDr. Elizabeth Gunderson

Elizabeth Gunderson, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2012 and her B.A. in Computer Science & Psychology from Yale University in 2005. Dr. Gunderson’s research focuses on the cognitive and socio-emotional factors that affect young children’s academic achievement, especially in the domain of mathematics. Dr. Gunderson is in the process of transitioning her research program from the Temple University Cognition and Learning Lab to the Indiana University Cognition and Learning Lab.
Department Website


Graduate Students

Grace Bennett-Pierre

Grace Bennett-Pierre is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at Temple University.
She completed a BA in Psychology at Wellesley College in 2016. Her research focuses on how caregivers’ beliefs and behavior shape children’s challenge-seeking, and how non-rigid spatial skills support STEM and arts learning.

Nadia Tavassolie

Nadia is a doctoral student in Psychology at Temple University, concentrating in Developmental Psychology. She received her B.A. at George Washington University with a double major in Anthropology and Human Services & Social Justice. She is interested in how children develop math knowledge, with a focus on social factors that influence academic motivation and achievement in math. She hopes to apply this research towards identifying the most important skills for later math achievement, and to develop tools that can be used at home or in school to cultivate those skills.

Lab Manager

Emily D’Antonio

Emily received their B.A. in Psychology from Catholic University of America in 2021. As a research assistant for Dr. Nancy Adleman, they studied social and attention abilities as well as the impacts of implicit memory on mood recall. They hope to study parent-child interactions with LGBTQ+ populations to understand children’s social and cognitive development and school performance.

Undergraduate Research Assistants 

Jules Mirales, Hannah Feinberg, Jammie Ashley Letona, Abigail Neitch, and Dabin Yim

Undergraduate LAURA Award Recipients

Sherese Bennett, Spring 2022

Joei Camarote, Summer 2022

Previous Undergraduate Honor’s Projects

Children’s Motivational Beliefs in Math, Verbal, and Spatial Domains: Relations to Gender and Achievement. Joei Camarote, Jing Tian, PhD, and Elizabeth A. Gunderson, PhD, 2022

Gender Differences in Parents’ Motivational Beliefs and Children’s Persistence After Failure. Taylor Chernuta, Grace Bennett-Pierre, and Elizabeth A. Gunderson, PhD, 2022.

Does Parental Exposure to Spatial and Verbal Activities Impact Their Child’s Achievement? Natasha Vahora, Nadia Tavassolie, and Elizabeth A. Gunderson, 2022.

Do Parent’s Motivational Beliefs Influence their Children’s Motivational Responses After Failure? Rawan Altamimi, Grace Bennett-Pierre, and Elizabeth A. Gunderson, PhD, 2021.

The Influence of Growth Mindset Feedback on Student’s Academic Attitudes. Khushi Sibal, Jing Tian, PhD, and Elizabeth A. Gunderson, PhD, 2021.

Former Lab Members

Postdoctoral Scholars

Jing Tian

Jing completed her Postdoctoral research position at Temple University and is currently an Assistant Professor at Fordham University.  Jing completed her Ph.D. in Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Robert Siegler at Carnegie Mellon University in 2018. She received her B.S. in Chemistry and Psychology from Peking University in 2013.

Nicole Hallinen

Nicole completed an IES Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychology and College of Education at Temple University, and is currently a Senior UX Researcher at Microsoft. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford’s Learning Sciences & Technology Design program in 2015 and a BS in Psychology and a BA in French & Francophone Studies from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009.

Nicole Sorhagen

Nicole received her Ph.D. from Temple University in August 2014, researching how social processes influence cognitive development. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, and then worked as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Millersville University. Nicole returned to Temple in 2022, working in the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

Graduate Students

Xinhe Zhang

Xinhe Zhang is a third-year graduate student in Dr. Gunderson’s Lab. She received her M.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Birmingham in 2017. She is interested in the development of spatial and numerical processing, with a focus on the relationship between spatial and numerical processing, with a focus on the relationship between spatial and numerical skills, and the mechanisms of spatial training and numerical training. She continues to work with Dr. Gunderson at Indiana University.  CV

Kexin (Cathy) Ren

Cathy received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with a concentration in Quantitative Methods from Temple University in 2021. She is currently a UX Researcher at Google. LinkedIn

Lab Managers

Lexi Sylverne

Lexi has continued on to pursue their Psy.D. in School Psychology at Rutgers University.

Melissa Mildort

Melissa has moved on to a new position.

Victoria Bartek

Victoria has moved on to a position as a Social Worker in the Innovation Ecosystem Team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Jorge Carvalho Pereira

Jorge has continued on to pursue his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, working with Dr. Melissa Libertus.

Yiqiao Wang

Yiqiao has continued on to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology at Harvard University, working with Drs. Elizabeth Spelke and Susan Carey.

Lindsey Hildebrand

Lindsey has continued on to pursue her Ph.D in Developmental Psychology at Boston College.

Ying Lin

Ying has continued on to pursue her Ph.D in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Rochester.

Conner Black

Conner has continued on to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina working with Dr. Jane Roberts.

Alexander D’Esterre

Alex has continued on to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland working with Dr. Melanie Killen.

Laura Donohue