Current Lab Members

Principal Investigator: John Coley

I’m interested in how people organize what they know about the world, and how they use what they know to make guesses about what they don’t know. I’m also interested in how those processes develop and change over time, and how differences in culture and experience influence them. I like to think of my lab as an environment in which smart, motivated, people have the opportunity to work together while learning about research, exploring these issues in lots of different ways, and having fun along the way.

Doctoral Students

Nadya Vasilyeva

My research interests focus on inductive inference, or forming predictions about uncertain outcomes. I am currently working on my thesis examining time course of property effects in induction. I am also interested in representations of individual objects, and the relationship between representations of cross-classified individual objects and categories they belong to. I have done several studies comparing casual structure of individual and kind representations across social, biological and artifact domains, and examining how object individuation affects generalization of new knowledge to entire categories.

Cole Eidson

Currently, I’m most interested in the ways people create, use, and handle social categories and how these might be different from natural kind categories. Further, I’m also interested in individual differences in reasoning and cognition in general. Specifically, I’ve always found sex and gender role differences in relation to cognitive phenomena and processes intriguing. I’m also interested in the idea of expertise and what might distinguish experts from novices across domains.

Coop Research Coordinator

Stephanie Silveira

I am a third year Psychology major at Northeastern, minoring in Buisness Administration. I am interested in going into research in Cognitive Psychology as a possible future career. With respect to Cognition I am very interested in how people make decisions, especially when under pressure or time constraints and how people reason causes of events or things. Working in this lab will give me the opportunity to further my study of Cognition and learn more about research in the field.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Mary Angilly

I’m interested in the many ways in which people – both experts and novices – organize living things and the reasoning behind their classifications. I am particularly fascinated with children and their perspectives of nature based on their rural, suburban, or urban upbringings. This is my last year as an undergrad at NU and I plan to go on to graduate school to study animal cognition and animals in public policy. I believe in order to understand the many facets of the animal world, we must look at how humanity views nature and why.

Dana Borkum

This semester I decided I wanted to research for a number of reasons. I felt that there was no time to waste getting my feet wet in the field of psychology, and I was willing to try anything. I haven’t exactly found a specific path that I would like to be on yet, and that is why I thought I would get some hands-on experience to start learning what I do and don’t like. I really enjoy working in a group and being a part of a project that will later give us deeper insight into how human brains work and categorize.

Robin Bzura

I’ve loved psychology ever since my AP Psych course in high school, and my interest has only grown in six years. Studying cognition, categorization, and reasoning appealed to me because I like to explore these kinds of complex mental processes. I’m also curious about anthropology, sociology, and linguistics. In my free-time I enjoy travel, music and board games. My favorite studies are often cross-cultural – especially those that compare & contrast Eastern and Western cultures. Professor Coley’s lab is full of great people seeking the answers to great questions.

Meredith Cohen

I’m a fourth year Psychology major with minors in Sociology and Business Administration. I’m interested in how people organize information and how they use information to guide their judgments and make decisions. Working in this lab will give me the opportunity to pursue my academic interests while working in a dynamic team of my peers.

Tyler Demers

I’m a fifth year Psychology major working on my last semester. I’ve been interested in Psychology ever since coming to Northeastern. Specifically, I’m interested in Clinical Psychology and hope to apply to graduate school for a Psy.D. My passion is working with children and learning how to apply research on their cognitive development in a real world setting. Ever since taking a course in Cognitive Development, I’ve realized the importance of this type of research. I’ve had many jobs and co-op experiences working with kids and doing research, and though research is not part of my long-term career goal, I’m interested in learning more about how cognitive reasoning develops across the life-span. Most recently, I worked as a co-op research assistant at the Freedom Trail Clinic at Mass General Hospital where we worked on investigatory drug trails for the treatment of Schizophrenia. Now I work part-time at the Russel C. Call Children’s center on campus.

Barbara Lee

Although I’m on the law school track, I have had a strong passion for psychology since I began my undergraduate career. At the heart of my interest are two fundamental questions: what are people’s thought processes when they make a decision and what are the motivations behind their actions. In my final semester at Northeastern, I’m looking forward to taking my LSAT and learning about the law and thought processes. After graduation, I’m looking forward to getting out of snowy New England and taking a year off to travel before pursuing my JD.

Katie Levy

I am a fifth year Psychology major with a minor in Sociology. My main focus in the field of Psychology is Applied Behavioral Analysis, specifically in how its principles are applied to teaching the autistic population. I have spent my past few years at Northeastern working with children with autism in the home and school setting and plan to go on for my Masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis. I also have a vivid interest in the ways in which different populations learn to think and reason about the world, due to their varying developmental factors including cultural backgrounds, location and educational background. I became interested in studying these cognitive processes while taking Professor Coley’s Cognitive Development course my sophomore year, and am currently beginning my second directed study in the lab. In returning to the CRL, I am excited to see the developments that have been uncovered in the previous research topics as well as new topics that have arisen.

Alison Robey

I am interested in meta-cognition. Specifically, how meta-cognition can be used to enhance learning by affecting how people choose to study or what people choose to study. I love that working in the CRL gives me experience in all aspects of the research process from planning and running subjects to coding and analyzing data.

Ashley Rodman

I am a fourth year Psych student with a minor in History. I am most interested in Applied Behavior Analysis, particularly as a treatment for autism. I have spent both my co-ops working with autistic children in residential and school settings and I hope to eventually obtain a masters degree in ABA. I am also interested in a broad range of psychology topics including developmental psychology and cognition. Working in the CRL will be my first time doing research and I am looking forward to a very different and interesting experience.

  • Contact Us

    Principle Investigator
    John D. Coley, Ph.D., Associate Professor
    Department of Psychology
    Northeastern University
    360 Huntington Ave., MS 0125 NI
    Boston, MA 02115-5000
    617.373.3548 (voice)
    617.373.8714 (fax)

    Coop Research Coordinator
    Stephanie Silveira
    Categorization & Reasoning Lab
    4th Floor, Nightingale Hall
    Department of Psychology
    Boston, MA 02115-5000
    617.373.4493 (voice)
    617.373.8714 (fax)