Advisory Board

Professor Justin P. Halberda

Justin P. Halberda, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD and Joint Appointment, Department of Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Justin directs two laboratories that often interact and work together.
In the Laboratory For Child Development (co-directed with Lisa Feigenson), he is interested in language acquisition and the possibility that logical deductive inference may play a role in the learning of new words. Working with infants, children, and adults, students in the lab receive training in eye-tracking and classic anticipatory-looking paradigms with a possible focus in the development of logical reasoning abilities broadly construed or in the constraints that guide word-learning. Recent interests also include collaborative work looking at quantifier terms (e.g., “most”) and how these word meanings interact with the non-linguistic numerical systems that supply them with numeric content (e.g., the Approximate Number System). This work is exciting as it bridges linguistics and psychology using classical psychophysics as a tool to uncover the structures that support word meanings.
In the Vision And Cognition Lab, Justin has an interest in the organization of attention, working memory, and the connection of mind to world. How do we take the continuous information that we receive from the senses and construct a representation of the world that is filled with discrete individual objects? How are individual objects then grouped to form sets of objects and set-based representations then constructed? Students in the lab have utilized both empirical methods (change detection, multiple object tracking, rapid enumeration) and computational modeling (symbolic and connectionist) to understand how attention and memory may play a role in these processes.
His publications include Individual differences in nonverbal number acuity predict maths achievement, Conceptual knowledge increases infants’ memory capacity, Developmental change in the acuity of the “Number Sense”: The approximate number system in 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-year-olds and adults, Is this a dax which I see before me? Use of the logical argument disjunctive syllogism supports word-learning in children and adults, Multiple spatially-overlapping sets can be enumerated in parallel, and Infants chunk object arrays into sets of individuals. Read the full list of his publications!
Justin earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at New York University in 2001, and his B.S. in Psychology, B.S. in Biochemistry, B.A. in Philosophy, and B.A. in Chemistry at the College of Charleston in 1997 (all Magna cum laude).
Read Science: Innate Sense of Numbers.