Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Director of Graduate Studies
Research in the Levin lab is focused on the interface between concepts and visual perception. To this end, we have been exploring the concepts associated with a variety of object categories, and the knowledge that drives visual selection during scene and event perception. Some of our research explores how knowledge and other basic cognitive constraints affect scene and event perception. For example, we are currently exploring how people perceive the sequence of natural visual events, and how they represent space while viewing films. In a related line of research, we are exploring adults' and childrens' concepts about agency, and testing how these concepts affect event perception, human-computer interaction, and learning from agent-based tutoring systems. This line of research represents an interdisciplinary collaboration with our lab, Meg Saylor's lab (Cognitive Development), and labs in engineering (Julie Adams and Gautam Biswas), and it is currently supported by a grant from the NSF.
In another recent project, we are collaborating with the McCandliss lab to explore how natural events shape reasoning about number and theory of mind. To do this, we have created a narrative film depicting these sorts of events and we will be collecting fMRI data from children while they view this film. For more information, see: http://levinfilms.com/the-minds-and-numbers-project.html, and to view the introductory segment to our film see: https://vimeo.com/48827545
Currently, the lab includes Lewis Baker (grad student), Anne Havard (undergrad researcher) and Lionel Pomerantz (undergrad researcher). Grad student alumni include Bonnie Angelone, Melissa Beck, Jonathan Herberg, Stephen Killingsworth, Yukari Takarae, Alex Varakin, and Joe Wayand.
I received by BA from Reed College in 1990, and my Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1997, then moved to a faculty position Kent State University. Starting in 2003, I have been here at Vanderbilt where I am Professor of Psychology in the Peabody's department of Psychology and Human Development.