Emily Sumner


Ph.D., Cognitive Sciences, 2020
M.A., Psychology, 2018
B.A., Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 2015


Cognitive development.


I am a cognitive scientist who studies the importance of independent exploration and play for children’s psychological development. I have run studies with over 1000 children and have found that children's drive to explore allows them to notices changes in the world that adults often miss out on.

My work as a graduate student has been supported by a Yellott Scholar Award, a Christian Werner Fellowship, a Public Impact Fellowship, a Falmagne Research Award, a Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship, and an Associate Dean's Fellowship.

Outside of my research, I enjoy training for marathons, spending time on Southern California's lovely trails, and coding in R.

Why is science communication important to you personally?

Most science is funded by taxpayer dollars. However, science is often inaccessible to the public. This is because of journal paywalls and the nature of academic writing (lots of field-specific jargon). I believe that science should accessible to all. Scientific communication is a useful tool to communicate research to those that funded it.

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