Lab members

Lab Managers/Research Assistants

Anthony Dunn •

Anthony is a full-time lab manager/research assistant leading fMRI data collection on a study investigating the neural representation of abstract relations (PIs: Silvia Bunge, David Kraemer, Keith Holyoak, & Hongjing Lu).


ethan_lab_photoEthan Willbrand •

Ethan is a full-time lab manager/research assistant with our lab and Kevin Weiner’s Cognitive Neuroanatomy Lab, studying how sulcal morphology changes over development and explains variability in cognitive performance.


sandhya_lab_photoSandhya Kannan •

Sandhya received her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science with a minor in Linguistics from UC Berkeley and recently graduated from Berkeley’s post-baccalaureate program. She is continuing her independent research in the Aphasia Recovery Lab and the Cognitive Neuroanatomy Lab as she assists with recruitment and data collection for the abstract relations project.


Irving_labphotoCarolyn Irving •

Carolyn Irving joined the lab as a post-baccalaureate student in the Psychology department in 2021. She now works as a full-time research associate in Rich Ivry’s Cognition and Action Lab. She remains involved in the Bunge Lab by assisting with MRI data collection on the abstract relations study.



Graduate Students

Elena Leib Elena Leib •

“I study learning, reasoning, and executive functions in children and the relationships among them. I am especially interested in relational reasoning in the domains of math and science. I am also interested in using eye-tracking to better understand how learning unfolds over time. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with honors in 2015. My research is generously supported by the Berkeley Fellowship.”

Monica Ellwood-Lowe •

Monica graduated from Stanford with honors in 2015. As a graduate student working jointly in the Bunge Lab and the Language and Cognitive Development Lab at Berkeley, she uses behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging methods to explore how children’s early experiences shape their linguistic and cognitive development. In particular, she asks whether growing up in traditionally disadvantaged homes may confer particular cognitive advantages, as an adaptation to the environment. Monica’s work is generously supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship.

SmritiSmriti Mehta •

Smriti is a graduate student in the Social-Personality area, studying psychosocial factors that affect academic motivation. Currently, she is assessing the role of implicit theories of intelligence in determining self-regulatory academic behaviors like help-seeking in STEM courses. She is also interested in psychometrics/measurement, survey design, and statistical instruction.


WillaVoorhiesWilla Voorhies •

Willa is a graduate student working in Kevin Weiner’s Cognitive Neuroanatomy Lab and the Bunge Lab, studying relationships between neuroanatomy, brain function, and higher-level cognition.


nick_lab_photoNick Ichien •

Nick is a graduate student at UCLA, working with Hongjing Lu and Keith Holyoak and collaborating closely with the Bunge Lab on computational modeling and behavioral research related to abstract semantic representations. Broadly, Nick’s research examines the flexibility of human thought by focusing on human capacities for grasping analogies, metaphors, and causality.



Postdoctoral fellows

Katherine (Kay) Alfred •

Kay is a postdoc working with David Kraemer at Dartmouth and Silvia Bunge on an NSF project focused on abstract relations and analogical reasoning. In addition to her research in analogical and deductive reasoning, she collaborates with Brendan Nyhan (Dartmouth College, Government Department) on research examining the cognitive processes that underlie motivated reasoning, supported by the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth.


suvi_lab_photoSuvi Hakkinen •

“I am a postdoctoral researcher working with Silvia and Kevin Weiner’s lab, examining relations between cortical folding and functional brain organization – particularly the significance of tertiary sulci in association cortices. I earned my PhD investigating the functional organization in human auditory cortex during auditory tasks at University of Helsinki, Finland, and have since done research also on the effects of early life stress on brain development, and on imaging-based biomarkers in genetic frontotemporal dementia.”


Closest collaborators in 2022

Kevin Weiner, Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley

David Kraemer, Associate Professor at Dartmouth

Keith Holyoak and Hongjing Lu, Professors at UCLA

Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Professor at Northeastern University and Principal Research Scientist at MIT

Emilio Ferrer, Professor at the University of California, Davis

Yana Fandakova (former postdoc in the lab), Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany and soon-to-be Professor at Trier University and Ulman Lindenberger, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin

Elena Galeano-Keiner (former postdoc in the lab) and Garvin Brod (former visiting scholar in the lab), Department of Education and Human Development at Goethe University

And more!!