I am a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Los Angeles where I work with Anne S. Warlaumont in the Emergence of Communication Lab. I did my PhD work at Stanford where I worked with Michael Frank in the Language and Cognition Lab.
My research aims to understand what makes children such flexible and powerful learners, especially in the domain of early language acquisition. Some specific questions of interest include:
How do learners integrate visual information to support real-time language understanding?
How does learning from other people change attention and memory during word learning?
What features of children's language input are particulary engaging?
To answer these questions, I use a combination of approaches including eye-tracking, web-based experiments, computational models, and analyses of large-scale naturalistic datasets. Here are some representative papers:
MacDonald, K., LaMarr, T., Corina, D., Marchman V.A., & Fernald, A. (2018). Real-time lexical comprehension in young children learning American Sign Language. Developmental Science [PDF] [Preprint PDF] [paper site] [code repository]
MacDonald, K., Yurovsky, D., & Frank, M.C. (2017). Social cues modulate the representations underlying cross-situational learning. Cognitive Psychology. 94, 67–84. [PDF] [Preprint PDF] [code repository] [paper site]
MacDonald, K., Schug, M., Chase, E. & Barth, H. (2013). My people, right or wrong? Minimal group membership disrupts children’s selective trust in testimony. Cognitive Development, 28, 247-259. [PDF]
All of my experiments, data, and analysis code are available on my github and OSF pages. And I have contributed to several software development and research projects that promote open and reproducible science:
cogsci2016: an R-package that allows you to write a reproducible submission to the Annual Cognitive Science Society Conference. [R package]
childesr: an R package interface to the childes-db system. [R package API]