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.

View the full biography


Leigh Burnett

Research Coordinator

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.

Currently, she works as a Research Coordinator for the Multilingualism and Decision-Making Lab and is interested in reasoning and language. 


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.


Sayuri Hayakawa

PhD Student

Background

Sayuri received a BA in psychology from Boston University. She worked with Dr. Catherine Caldwell-Harris to study bilingual biculturals and the impact of language on self-promotional strategies. She went on to get an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago. Under the guidance of Dr. Boaz Keysar, she examined the effect of language on priming culturally congruent nonverbal behavior. She continued working in the Keysar lab as a research assistant until 2011, at which point she began her doctorate studies at the University of Chicago.

Research Interests

Sayuri is generally interested in how bilingualism and language affect cognition and behavior. Her current line of research with Dr. Keysar examines differences in processing a first vs. second language and the subsequent impact of using a foreign language on decision making.

View the full biography


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.