Reflecting about my first first-author publication!

29 Feb 2020

If you had appeared to me in my third year of graduate school and told me that the first empirical paper I would publish from my Ph.D. would cover the developmental research I was just beginning to undertake in the lab, I probably would have thought you were trying to make an unfunny joke. But opportunity and timing synchronize in unexpected ways in academia, and well, here we are!

A quick, slightly over-generalized summary of the paper: The regularities in our behaviors guide our lives (i.e. wake up, brush your teeth, brew some coffee, etc.), and such regularities come to coalesce into a schematic form of knowledge (i.e. a morning routine) that can guide behavior in another context (i.e. a modified morning routine when you wake up in a hotel). In the paper, we show that children and adolescents develop these schematic forms of knowledge at different rates and that the ability to flexibly use such knowledge in new contexts increases with age. More details on how exactly we defined and quantified these metrics in can be found in the paper—get in touch if you would like a copy of it.

The paper was a joint effort between me and Dr. Hannah Roome, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab, whose research expertise primarily concerns the development of spatial navigation abilities in children. Her years of experience working with children were a huge help to the project because until then, I had only conducted research with adult participants. It was a fun collaboration, and we both learned a lot from one another. Inter- and intra-lab collaborations have been some of my favorite parts about graduate school—the exchange of knowledge and perspective motivates and inspires me in a way that I can rarely do myself. Hoping to share more of these in the near future.