A child's environment presents it with a wealth of input that can inform learning; however, not all input is equally informative because some stimuli are preferentially attended to. How do young learners selectively allocate attention to visual input, and how does this selectivity influence learning?
In collaboration with psychologists, I am developing Track-It, a modular, open source software suite created specifically to investigate mechanisms of sustained selective attention with young children. Track-It presents the participant with a grid and a target object moving on the grid along a random trajectory. Participants are asked to visually track the target and identify the grid location last visited by the target before it disappears. The moving target in this task can be accompanied by distracters, also moving along a random trajectory. Track-It tracks participants' gaze trajectories and can be used to compare trajectories based on a variety of features.
Gorilla groups maintain a strict social hierarchy; interactions between gorillas of the same group and gorillas of different groups have enormous effects on group composition and structure. With the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the University of Maryland, I am investigating how interactions between gorillas propagate through intra- and inter-group social networks induced by gorilla actions, locations, ages, and other features. We are trying to quantify answers to questions about gorilla emigration and the centrality (relative importance) of specific gorillas.
Coming soon! Papers are in preparation.