Learning Across Development

Mentor: Dr. Amy Finn

Dr. Amy Finn

Project Description

How do children and adults differ in the strategies they use to learn about the world around them? Broadly, our lab aims to understand how cognitive and brain development can support or constrain learning outcomes. A long-term goal is to understand the nature of memory and learning mechanisms, and the developmental changes in these relationships. By understanding the nature of learning mechanisms it may be possible to design more effective educational strategies that lead in turn to improved outcomes broadly.

The purpose of this SROP project is to investigate whether kids have better memory for irrelevant information or better memory for relevant information compared to adults. Previous research has shown that young children tend to struggle with selectively attending. However, there is also much debate about whether or not children learn category information in different ways than adults as a result of attentional differences.

Our lab recruits child and adult participants through the University of Toronto community. Participants complete a series of engaging cognitive tasks on their computers at home while on a Zoom call with an experimenter. The SROP student will be involved in many aspects of the scientific research process including participant recruitment, data collection and data analysis. They will also join weekly supervisor meetings as well as weekly lab meetings to provide the necessary training and guidance to ensure they get the most out of this experience!

Mentorship Statement

I strongly believe that we need to boost the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) PhD students and faculty members in psychology graduate programmes. We need to do everything we can to diminish barriers to our privileged institution and the perspectives of BIPOC scientists are greatly needed. Before having the opportunity to participate in research as an undergraduate myself, I was not aware of the possible careers and learning that a PhD in psychology can offer. I am committed to providing this important first hand experience to BIPOC students especially. I believe in meeting with my students regularly to discuss research ideas and strategy and folding undergraduates into the larger rhythm of my lab to gain a comprehensive picture of how research takes place, this means inclusion in all aspects of the research process from engaging with literature and theory to recruiting participants to participate in studies.

Project ID 545