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Postdoctoral Researchers


Courtney Baugh is a sixth-year graduate student in the Developmental area of the Psychology Department at UCR.  Her research interests include how, why, and what children learn from media, and the role that feelings of similarity play in relating to and learning from media characters.  She is currently involved in a study that is looking at how children identify with media characters, and how that affects prosocial learning.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Child Development from California State University, Stanislaus, and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from University of California, Riverside.


Koeun Choi worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2016 – 2017, studying young children’s learning and transfer, utilizing behavioral and eye-tracking measures to understand cognitive development and learning processes. She is currently an assistant professor directing the Cognitive Developmental Science (CoDeS) lab in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Virginia Tech.


Ali Conover is a fourth-year graduate student in the Developmental area of the Psychology Department at UCR. Her research interests include children’s understanding of religious concepts across multiple religious affiliations and the role of religious rituals as an emotion-regulation strategy. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.

Office: Psychology Building 2131

Rachel Flynn worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2008 – 2013, studying interactive media’s influence on the development of executive functioning skills. During that time, she completed research on the impact of active video game (i.e. Wii Fit) play on children’s executive functioning in a five week summer in a poverty-impacted neighborhood for two consecutive summers. Rachel’s dissertation research examined the acute impact on executive functioning skills, such as attention and self-regulation, of exercise, active video games, and traditional video games. She holds a B.S. in Biopsychology and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She currently works as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine and is the Associate Director at the Institute for Innovations in Developmental Science at Northwestern University.



Ahmed Ibrahim worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2014 – 2016 focusing on digital applications and STEM. He is currently working as a Senior Education Research Consultant at Johns Hopkins University.



Kirsten Lesage was a graduate student in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2014 – 2020, studying how culture and religion affect cognitive development in early childhood. During that time, she completed research on a longitudinal study in the lab examining children’s conceptions of prayer, supernatural beings, and causal mechanisms (project title: “R’GOD: Development of Religious Cognition”) as well as a collaborative study with Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas and Dr. Aiyana Willard on how participation in magic or religious rituals relate to (dis)trust and blame attribution in communities in Mauritius. Kirsten’s dissertation research examined how the cultural context shapes parents’ and children’s causal explanations for the causes and treatments of biological illnesses across cultures (Mexican-American, Catholics in the USA, Catholics in Colombia, and Hindus in Mauritius) (project title: “ESBI: Explanatory Systems for Biological Illnesses”). She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Northwestern College. She currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Developing Belief Network based out of Dr. Kathleen Corriveau’s Social Learning Lab at Boston University.

Personal Website:

Ph. D., University of Texas, 2015


Dr. Boli Reyes-Jaquez is a Developing Belief Network postdoctoral researcher. He studies human development, with a focus on how cognitive, social, and cultural factors influence two fundamental domains of social evaluation: competence and morality. Before joining the team at UCR, he obtained a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. After spending the next two years teaching in the Dominican Republic as a visiting scholar while fulfilling requirements of a Fulbright fellowship, he returned to the U.S. as a President’s postdoctoral research fellow at University of Minnesota, working with Dr. Melissa Koenig. His most recent work examined in different cultures children’s moral judgments of power abuse in the form of bribery; current interests include testing whether at some point in development concepts like moral fallibility (e.g., overstepping one’s authority) are deemed uniquely human, or also applicable to supernatural agents.


Ashley Ricker worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2013 – 2016 studying the development of episodic memory and metacognition. Her dissertation examined the influence of interactive media and video games on encoding processes and metacognitive abilities. From 2017 – 2019 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Excellence in Biopsychical Approaches to Health (CEBAH) at Chapman University working with Dr. Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook. She currently holds a Research Faculty appointment in the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder, working as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Sleep and Development lab with Dr. Monique LeBourgeois where she is investigating the impacts of interactive technology and sleep on children’s health and cognition.



Michael Robb worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2005 – 2010, studying the impact of media on children’s learning. During that time, he completed research on the impact of baby DVDs on young children’s language development, problem solving abilities, and early literacy outcomes. Michael’s dissertation examined the impact of an interactive storybook on parent-child dialogic reading and children’s story comprehension. He is currently the senior director of research at Common Sense, overseeing the research program, evaluation of organization impact, and program development research. Michael’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and many other news outlets.


Anondah Saide

Anondah Saide worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2013-2018.  Her research interests broadly pertained to culture and children’s cognitive development. For example, she worked on: (1) a cross-sectional study examining children’s development of religious and scientific concepts (in both religious and secular populations), and (2) a longitudinal study in the lab examining children’s conceptions of prayer and God, reality/fantasy distinctions, and possibility reasoning. She is currently a visiting assistant professor in educational psychology at the University of North Texas.



Molly Schlesinger was a graduate student in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2012-2017, where her research focused on young children’s social cognitive development, problem solving skills, and STEM learning from educational media. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 2017 from UCR and a B.A. from Hampshire College in 2012. From 2017-2019, she was a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek on playful learning, creativity, and Playful Learning Landscapes. Molly is currently a Statistician in her home town in the Office of Evaluation, Research, and Accountability at the School District of Philadelphia.



Nicholas Shaman worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2009 – 2016, where his research focused on children’s cognitive development, religious concepts, and how those influence and are influenced by their religious experiences. His dissertation examined the influence of religious rituals on children’s learning of religious concepts. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Religious Studies from Boston University. Nicholas is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston – Clear Lake.



Erin Smith worked in the Childhood Cognition Lab from 2006-2011, where her research focused on the development of religious concepts and how these kinds of concepts are differentiated from other concepts (scientific, fantastical, etc.) within and across cultures. She is currently working as an Associate Professor of Psychology at California Baptist University, where she also serves as the Director of Research for the Center for the Study of Human Behavior ( Her current research focuses on science and religion, especially Christian (dis)engagement with science, and the role of children’s church ministry in development.


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