Lab Members

Boaz Keysar

Lab Director

Chair of the Cognition group, Prof. Keysar conducts research about how people communicate, negotiate and make decisions. Many of his discoveries reveal systematic reasons for miscommunication and misunderstandings. For example, his research shows that people overestimate their ability to communicate accurately, and counter to what people tend to think, we miscommunicate even more with those who are more familiar to us. Keysar publishes his work in leading journals such as Psychological Science and Psychological Review, and his honors and awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, major Federal research grants from National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation and a Fulbright Scholarship.

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Janet Geipel

Postdoctoral Scholar

Background

Janet graduated from Free University Berlin (Germany) with a Diploma in Psychology in September 2012, and received her PhD in Cognitive Science from Trento University (Italy) in December 2015. In her PhD, Janet examined foreign language effects on judgment and decision making, such as moral judgment and risk perception. Her doctoral thesis was awarded as the Best Doctoral Dissertation of the year 2015. Prior to joining the Multilingualism and Deciscion-Making Lab, Janet worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar for the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to study risk communication and informed decision-making in health domains under the supervision of Dr. Danielle Timmermans. Janet joined the Multilingualism and Decision Making Lab in 2017 as a Postdoctoral Scholar. 

Research Interests

Janet is generally interested in how language affects judgment and decision making as well as behavior. 


Rendong Cai

Visiting Scholar

Background

Rendong received a BA in English Education from South China Normal University and obtained his MA and PhD in Psycholinguistics from the National Key Research Center for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He worked with Dr. Dong Yanping and examined the role of working memory in second language learning and processing for his doctoral dissertation. His doctoral dissertation was awarded the Excellent Doctoral Dissertation of the Year 2013 in Guangdong Province.

Research Interests

Rendong is interested in individual differences in bilingual language processing/development. Currently he is working on three projects: 1) the effect of foreign language use on decision-making, 2) the role of individual differences in cognitive abilities (such as working memory and inhibition) in interpreting performance and development, and 3) individual differences in phonological attainment.


Ka Ying Becky Lau

PhD Student

Background

Becky graduated from University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology in December, 2013. Under the supervision of Dr. Emily Falk and Dr. Sara Konrath, Becky examined the effects of perspective-taking on intergroup interactions in her senior honors thesis. During her undergraduate years, she also worked with Dr. Kim Cameron, Dr. Patricia Gurin, Dr. Winnie Mak, and Dr. Sheryl Olson on a variety of projects. In 2014, she began her doctoral studies at the University of Chicago and joined the Multilingualism and Decision-Making Lab. 

Research Interests

Becky is broadly interested in perspective-taking, decision making, and foreign languages. Her current project examines whether foreign language usage can improve negotiation outcomes. Another line of her research examines whether goal commitments are language-bound. 


Leigh Burnett

PhD Student

Background 

Leigh received her BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Boston University and her MSc in Research Methods in Psychology from University College London. Prior to joining the Multilingualism and Decision-Making Lab, Leigh worked as a research assistant for the Polysyllabic Word Reading Project, which examined reading disability and how late elementary school students read polysyllabic words. Later on, Leigh completed her master’s thesis with the Language and Cognition Lab under Gabriella Vigliocco, focusing on how emotionally valenced words are preconsciously processed. Leigh joined the Multilingualism and Decision Making Lab in 2015 as a Research Coordinator, and began her doctoral studies at the University of Chicago in 2017. 

Research Interests

Currently, Leigh is broadly interested in examining factors that impact how individuals reason and make decisions.