Current Lab Members

Graduate Students

Alex Shaw, Ph.D.

DIBS Lab Principal Investigator, Professor of Psychology

Broadly, Alex is interested in how human beings navigate the complex social world by tracking each others’ reputations and by signaling to others. More specifically, he studies the development of fairness in children. His fairness research is focused on differentiating fairness from other forms of niceness, exploring the reputational motives that may underlie fairness, and how fairness may relate to our alliance psychology. He also researches intellectual property in children and is investigating whether part of our concern with people stealing ideas is based in not liking others garnering a false reputational advantage. He is also interested in the computations people perform to decide how and when to fight over resources, track others’ reputations, and learn to properly discount others’ self-promotional strategies.

email: ashaw1@uchicago.edu

Webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/alexshawyale/

Faculty Page: http://psychology.uchicago.edu/directory/alex-shaw

Graduate Students

Gemma Smith

Lab Manager

Gemma oversees the lab’s research projects, develops strategic partnerships, coordinates off-site collaborations and facilitates the work of our graduate and undergraduate researchers. Within the CECR, she unites the DSC Lab and the Developmental Investigations of Behavior and Strategy (DIBS) Lab led by Professor Alex Shaw. She has done psychology research at Trinity University and University of Washington, and worked in the mental health field for several years. Broadly, she is interested in studying children’s early perceptions of disability, the development of empathy, and the role of language development in identity formation.

email: gemmasmith@uchicago.edu

Graduate Students

Molly C. Gibian

Senior Research Associate

Molly advises the lab’s research agenda, integrates systemic project management, writes regulatory documents and provides organizational guidance for the lab and the Center for Early Childhood Research. She has worked in neuroscience and psychology research for Wellesley College, M.I.T., Harvard Medical School, Boston University and Cornell University. Her research interests focus on societal/cultural influences on learning cognition, leadership ambition, identity formation and the development of value systems. From 2021, Molly is pursuing a graduate degree at Stanford University while continuing to support the lab.

email: mgibian@uchicago.edu

Graduate Students

Hannah Hok

Ph.D. Student

Hannah is a PhD student working with Alex Shaw. Hannah broadly studies social and moral cognitive development and is interested in how children think about the fairness of using different procedures to navigate decision-making within groups. She has two primary research interests: Early thinking about the the values of political procedures such as majority rules voting and children’s understanding of hypocrisy and social signaling

Graduate Students

Ben Morris

Ph.D. Student

Ben is a PhD student with Alex Shaw and Daniel Yurovsky. Broadly, Ben works on the interplay between language and social cognition across development. He is especially interested in emerging conceptions of knowledge and knowledge transmission, and in the language cues that drive children's inferences about knowledge.

Graduate Students

Mitchell Landers

Ph.D. Student

Mitchell received his B.A. in philosophy from UC Berkeley. As a post-baccalaureate, he received training in evolutionary psychology from Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, and Steve Gaulin at UCSB. Mitchell is currently interested in friendship, cooperation, and alliance formation, the function of social emotions, and how to reconcile personality and other individual differences with our evolved, universal human nature.

Graduate Students

Katie Vasquez

Ph.D. Student

Katie is a PhD student working with Alex Shaw. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2020 with a high honors in Psychology. After graduating, Katie worked as Yarrow Dunham’s and Paul Bloom’s laboratory manager at the Yale University Social Cognitive Development and Mind and Development Labs. Katie broadly researches children's social and moral development, including children's moral intuitions and how children behave in socio-moral dilemmas. In the DIBS Lab, Katie plans to focus on how children think about and engage in social strategies, such as reputation management.

Graduate Students

Peter Yibo Pan

Research Assistant with Ben Morris

Peter was a former research assistant with the Communication and Learning Lab led by Dan Yurovsky and has transitioned to the DIBS lab to focus on projects involving child language acquisition, knowledge perceptions, and social language cognition.

Graduate Students

Ana Godinez

Research Assistant with Mitchell Landers

Ana is majoring in Comparative Human Development coupled with the pre-medicine track. She finds great interest in the development of reputation, alliances, identity, and personality in people of different origins, especially in children and young adults. Specifically, she is intrigued by how people alter their actions in social situations as a result of how others perceive them as well as how they perceive themselves. In the future, she hopes to apply her studies to a career in the field of mental health or education.

Graduate Students

Spencer Zhao

Research Assistant with Katie Vasquez

Spencer is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is passionate about cognitive and developmental psychology, specifically focusing on how children were raised and the behavior they develop due to their upbringing. Specifically, she is interested in how childhood behavior and experiences are processed subconsciously without the individual's awareness and the impact the subconscious has on the individual's daily life.

Graduate Students

Lucian Broady

Research Assistant with Hannah Hok

Lucian is studying Psychology and Business Economics. At the DIBS lab, he hopes to explore childrens’ conception of their friendships and what exactly they expect out of these relationships. The development and formalization of this conception is also of great interest to him. He would also like to investigate how these foundations of friendships are challenged and altered as the relationships mature and take on more structured forms.

Graduate Students

Adi Orlyanchik

Research Assistant with Ben Morris

Adi is majoring in neuroscience on the pre-medical track. Her interests lie in understanding children's behavior and cognition. Particularly, she would like to study education practices and language acquisition to learn more about child cognitive development. In the future, she hopes to help children with learning and developmental disabilities and work in the medical and educational fields.

Lab Alumni

Anam Barakzai, Ph.D.

In DIBS Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2019)

Post DIBS Lab: Working at Google in UX

Jessica Bregant, J.D., Ph.D.

In DIBS Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2018)

Post DIBS Lab: Assistant Professor Houston Law Center

Zoe Liberman, Ph.D.

In DIBS Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2016)

Post DIBS Lab: Assistant Professor, UCSB

Ike Silver. Ph. D
In DIBS Lab: Research Assistant

Post DIBS Lab: Assistant Professor of Marketing, Northwestern

Emily Gerdin

In DIBS Lab:  Lab Manager 

Post DIBS Lab: Ph.D. Student, Yale University, Psychology

Kayla Good

In DIBS Lab: Lab Manager

Post DIBS Lab: Ph.D. Student at Stanford University,

Zachariah Berry, M.A.

In DIBS Lab: Was a MAPSS Student 

Post DIBS Lab: Ph.D. Student at Cornell University, Marketing

Sean Zheng, M.A

In DIBS Lab: Research Assistant and MAPSS student

Post DIBS Lab: Ph.D. Student, Northwestern University, Psychology

Sophie Arnold

In DIBS Lab: Research Assistant

Post DIBS Lab: Lab Manager for Yarrow Dunham, Yale University

Abbie Klein

In DIBS Lab: Research Assistant

Post DIBS Lab: Research Specialist with Seth Pollack, UW Madison

James Dunlea
In DIBS Lab: Research Assistant

Post DIBS Lab: Ph.D. Student at Columbia University, Psychology

Emory Kim

In DIBS Lab: Research Assistant/Junior Lab Manager

Post DIBS Lab: Lab Manager for Franklin Huang Lab, UCSF