The Development and Experience (DAX) Center is comprised of three research labs within the Department of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College. We conduct and publish cutting edge research designed to shed light on the development of morals, memory, and problem solving. The DAX Center is always eager to welcome new infants and children as participants in our quick and fun studies. Sign up here.
Krista Casler, Ph.D.
Director, Child Development Lab
Professor Casler, who joined the faculty at F&M in 2005, is director of the Child Development Lab. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at Boston University and, prior to that, studied psychology and English as an undergraduate at Eastern Nazarene College. She teaches classes at F&M relating to development, childhood, and general psychology. Her research focuses on young children's thinking and problem solving with current projects exploring children's understanding and use of simple tools. Outside of the classroom and lab, you'll find Dr. Casler enjoying time with her husband and two sons.
Lauren Howard, Ph.D.
Director, Early Social Cognition Lab
Professor Howard, director of the Early Social Cognition Lab, received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago. Her research explores how children learn in various social contexts. Specifically, she examines how other people help to improve infant's and young children's memory for events. This main focus has been expanded to include why children preferentially learn from certain peoople over others, and whether these social abilities also appear in non-human primates. Professor Howard teaches courses related to cognition and development at Franklin & Marshall College.
Joshua Rottman, Ph.D.
Director, Developing Moral Values Lab
Professor Rottman, director of the Developing Moral Values Lab, joined the faculty of Franklin & Marshall College in 2015. He received a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Vassar College in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Boston University in 2015. At Franklin & Marshall, he teaches courses about moral psychology, psychological science, and the history and philosophy of psychology. His research investigates how children learn new beliefs about right and wrong, how storybooks impact moral development, and how children and adults think about the moral status of the natural world. His findings have been featured in The Atlantic and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. Prof. Rottman grew up in Western Colorado and he still enjoys spending time in the mountains.
Alex moore, Ph.D.
Director, Math Cognition Lab
Professor Moore received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Cognitive Development at the University of Missouri. His research attempts to explain how cognitive mechanisms such as working memory and attention aid in mathematical problem solving, and how negative emotional arousal associated with mathematics anxiety serves to disrupt mental processing critical for success in the domain. Related areas of research include the formation of mathematical concepts throughout childhood, the development of problem solving strategies that are predictive of later success in mathematics, and the societal and personal factors that influence the pursuit of careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Kristi Leimgruber Ph.D.
Director, Social Cognition and Cooperation Lab
Dr. Leimgruber is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College. She received Bachelors of Science in Zoology and Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Yale University in 2014. Before coming to Franklin & Marshall, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Social Cognitive Development Group at Harvard University. Dr. Leimgruber studies the developmental and evolutionary roots of uniquely human cooperation. Specifically, her research focuses on the role that factors such as reputation management, positive affect, prospection, and social experience play in the emergence of prosocial behaviors. When she is not studying children and monkeys in the lab, Dr. Leimgruber loves hanging out with her husband (Christian), her sweet baby (Penelope June), and her two mutts (Porter & Harley). She also bakes a mean peanut butter cookie.
Lab Manager, Hackman Scholar
Anastasiia joined the DAX center as a summer research assistant for Professor Rottman and is now working as a Lab Manager for the DAX Center. She is a senior pursuing a double major in Cognitive Science and Psychology. Outside of class, Anastasiia is a President of Black Pyramid Honor Society, a Vice President of Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity, and a member of Russian and Eastern European club. During the school year she holds a position of a teacher assistant for Psychology 230. When she has free time, Anastasiia involves herself in the college theatre life.
Lab Manager, Hackman Scholar
Natalie is a senior from Rhinebeck, NY who joined the DAX center in Fall 2018 as a research assistant for Professor Howard in the Early Social Cognition Lab. She is a Psychology Major. Outside the DAX center, Natalie works at Bright Horizons Preschool as an associate teacher. On campus, she is a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, the Sexual Assault and Violence Elimination Club, and the Women’s Club Soccer team.
Social Media Coordinator, Research Assistant
Kelly is a junior from New Jersey who is joining the DAX center this summer as a research assistant for Professor Rottman. She is majoring in Biology, minoring in Psychology and is on the Pre-Med track. Outside of the classroom, Kelly is a coxswain on F&M's Rowing Team, the Formal Recruitment Chair of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, a PIT PA for the Ware Institute of Civic Engagement, a Marshall Scholar and Chair of Weis College House's Assembly of Peers.
Tyler is a senior Psychology major and joined the DAX Center in Fall 2019. Presently, Tyler is working with Professor Rottman and Professor Leimgruber on an independent research project studying hazing. Outside of the lab, Tyler is a tour guide and enjoys filmography, photography, exercise, and entertaining others.
Liz Abraham is a senior who joined the DAX Center in Spring 2018. She is a sociology major with a psychology minor. In the lab, Liz has assisted other students with their independent research and will be working as a Hackman Scholar in the Summer of 2019. Outside of lab, Liz is president of women's rugby and interns as a science teacher at Wharton Elementary. In the future, she hopes to work as an elementary school teacher or school psychologist.
Julia is a senior and is working as a research assistant for Professor Howard in the ESC Lab. This semester she will be assisting senior Tess Flanagan with her honors thesis project. Julia is from Philadelphia and an intended Psychology major with an Economics minor. Outside of the lab, she is a member of Alpha Delta Pi, marketing director for Spoon University, and a mentor for Squash ACES.
Nicole is a junior from Arlington, VA, and joined the DAX Center in Fall 2018. She is a psychology major and an anthropology minor. Outside of lab, she plays the cello in the F&M Orchestra and is a Marshall Fellow.
Shira is a senior and is joining the DAX Center as a summer research assistant for Professor Casler. Shira is an intended Psychology and Religious Studies double major. Outside of class, she is the education chair at Hillel, the communications chair for Dips For Israel, a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, and she writes for the College Reporter. Shira loves working with children, so she also spends a lot of time volunteering at Wharton Elementary school.
You Jin Park
You Jin is a sophomore joining the DAX Center in Fall 2018 as a research assistant for Professor Howard. You Jin is an intended Psychology major and is currently on the pre-med track. Outside of lab, she is a student representative in the College Facilities Committee and is part of the Liberty in North Korea. You Jin also enjoys playing the flute and loves to hike!
Sam joined the DAX center in Fall 2018. He is a junior from Germany double majoring in Moral Psychology and Philosophy. Sam is a member of the Men’s Tennis Team and enjoys cooking.
Fiona is a senior who has been with the DAX center as a research assistant for Professor Howard since 2017. She is a double Psychology and English Creative Writing major. Fiona has served on the board of Art Club since Fall of 2017 and helps plan the annual Writer's House Murder Mystery Halloween Party. During the school year, she works as an IET technology tutor in Shadeck Fackenthal library, helping students use the 3D printers and other technology housed there.
Research Assistant, Hackman Scholar
Mira is a senior who joined DAX lab as a volunteer in fall 2017. She is intending to joint major in Environmental Studies and Psychology. She is the president of the Planned Parenthood Generations Action club, vice president of the DipCon sustainability committee, treasurer of the Environmental Action Alliance, and an intern at F&M's Center for the Sustainable Environment. Mira is also a member of the women's ultimate frisbee team and enjoys running and reading in her free time.
Lauren is a senior from Massachusetts who joined the DAX center in Spring 2019 as a research assistant for Professor Howard. She is a joint Psychology and Women Gender & Sexuality Studies Major. On campus, she is the Membership Education Vice President of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, a member of the Sexual Assault and Violence Elimination Club, and Spoon University club.
Linned "Lulu" Gomez is a senior from Miami, FL who joined the DAX center as a volunteer in Spring 2019. She is a Cognitive Science major and a Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies minor. Outside of class, Lulu is the captain of the women's rugby team, a hall advisor for Ware College House, and a linguistics research assistant. When she's not engaged in research, you'll find Lulu smiling and drinking tea in the Alice Drums Women Center.
Maya is a junior at F&M double majoring in cognitive science and creative writing. She is joining the DAX lab during the Fall 2019 semester. Outside of class, she is Vice-President Standards for Kappa Delta sorority, a Q&SC Psych 100 tutor and Vice President for FEM&M magazine. If you don't see her on campus she is probably at a cozy cafe making a new playlist.
Tenny-Ann is from South Florida and is a freshman starting her journey as a volunteer. She is excited to meet students and help with the conducting of research to come and plans to focus on Environmental Policy and Psychology throughout the next few years. Tenny-Ann found her love for Psychology after taking General and Social Psychology courses.
Holly is a freshman from Sarasota, FL who joined DAX Lab as a volunteer during the spring of 2020. She intends to major in Cognitive Science on a pre-medical track. Aside from academics, Holly is involved in Intervarsity Christain Fellowship, a freshman representative in Brooks House Congress, and a member of the F&M track team. In the future, she hopes to become a Developmental Pediatrician.
Emily Kapner is a senior from Massachusetts who joined the DAX center as a volunteer in the fall of 2019. She is double majoring in psychology and government. Outside of class and the lab, Emily enjoys playing trombone and getting outside as much as possible. She served as the 2019 President of the Environmental Action Alliance, and she works as a House Advisor in Ware College House.