Emily Fyfe

Emily Fyfe

Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • Ph.D., Psychological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, 2015
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Notre Dame, 2010

Research Topics

  • Cognitive Development
  • Math Cognition
  • Learning and Transfer
  • Problem Solving

Research Summary

Children are continuously learning as they observe and interact with people and the world. To that end, my research is in the area of cognitive development and the science of learning more broadly, with an emphasis on how children think, learn, and solve problems in mathematics. My goals are to characterize changes in children’s knowledge over time and to evaluate the effects of formal and informal learning experiences. I use an interdisciplinary approach that capitalizes on perspectives from developmental psychology, cognitive science, and mathematics education. I typically conduct behavioral experiments in which I manipulate one aspect of the learning environment and examine its causal impact on target learning outcomes. I also track changes over time and conduct error analyses to examine the development of children’s misconceptions.

Overall, my aim is to better understand how the learner and the learning environment interact to produce positive changes, especially in mathematics. My research on the science of learning not only helps identify basic cognitive processes that support the construction of knowledge, but also examines how to use that information to design effective instructional techniques.