Learning Lab

Dr. Ji Son, LAB Director

Dr. Son is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on how people learn and generalize their learning to new situations. The central idea behind her work is that learning changes the way we SEE the world! Many of the studies in the Learning Lab examines the role of perception in how students and young children learn abstract ideas, such as math and science.

Area: Cognitive development, category learning, perceptual learning, learning and transfer


Students who have worked with Dr. Ji in the past:

Mariela Rivas

Ph.D., Graduate student @ UCI, class of 2020

Cynthia Alarcon

Ph.D., Graduate student @ University of Texas, Austin, class of 2020

Donna Chen

Ph.D., Graduate student @ University of Nebraska, class of 2020

Yu Zhang

Ph.D., Graduate student @ UC Santa Cruz, class of 2019

Craig Terasawa

M.S.W., Graduate student @ Azusa Pacific University, class of 2014

Phoutdavone "Noy" Phimphasone

Ph.D., Graduate student @ UNC, Charlotte, class of 2016

Katerina Schenke

Ph.D., Graduate student @ UCI, class of 2015

K.P. Thai

Ph.D., Graduate student @ UCLA, class of 2014

Stacy Einikis

M.A., Graduate student @ Adler School of Professional Psychology, class of 2010

Michelle Leslie

Psy.D., Graduate student @ University of Indianapolis, class of 2011

Megan Haselschwerdt

Ph.D., Graduate student @ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, class of 2012

Stephanie Monroy, Research Assistant

My name is Stephanie Monroy. I am working towards my BA in psychology. I am currently working on an experiment that looks at how people interpret online scientific articles when they are presented with anecdotal narratives. With conducting this research, I hope to get one foot into the door of Media Psychology. I want to be able to teach people how to critically think about information that is given through the media and all of its outlets. Aside from education, I love going to different hiking trails and beaches.

Ricardo Yuan, Research Assistant

Hello, my name is Ricardo and I am an undergraduate student pursuing a BA in Psychology. My interest in studying psychology is to understand how and why people behave in certain ways and what leads them to approach certain behaviors. The understanding of human mind and behavior are fascinating topics of my interest and I hope to gain valuable research experience at the learning lab. With the experience and the journey doing research at the learning lab, I will further pursue my studies in a graduate field of Psychology. 

Caylor Davis, Graduate Student

Salutations! I am a graduate student in the Psychology MA program, and received my BA in Linguistics and Psychology from UCLA. My research interests lie at the intersection of language, gesture, and cognition. More particularly, I am interested in the ways spatial language may impact the way we learn abstract concepts or form spatial categorizations. I approach research questions related to this through the framework of embodied cognition theories, in hopes of furthering our understanding of mind-body interactions. In those rare moments of free time, I enjoy being outdoors or being endlessly amused by cymatic experiments.

Lily NguYen, Research Assistant

My name is Lily and I am an undergraduate student working towards a BS in Biochemistry. I want to go to med school and specialize in neuroscience because of my interest in the chemistry of the brain. I love learning about how arbitrary chemicals in the brain cause us to behave in certain ways. In addition, my interest in psychology stems from my fascination in how things work. Working in this lab gives me insight on behavioral traits that all humans share. Otherwise, in my spare time, I like to watch TV shows, read comic books, and play music.

Jackie Lin, Research Assistant

Jackie is an undergraduate student working towards a BS in Biochemistry. Her research examines ways in which chemistry can be taught to facilitate greater understanding. This is a collaborative project with Dr. Ji Son (Psychology) and Dr. James Rudd (Chemistry/Natural Sciences) since it deals with how students learn chemistry. She hopes to pursue a MD in the future. In her free time, she enjoys figure skating and spending time with family.

Jazziel Guemes, Research Assistant

Hello, my name is Jazziel Guemes. I am currently in my senior year pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I am interested in attending graduate school to obtain a degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. I am fascinated by the dynamic aspect of relationships within families and between romantic partners. As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I aspire to provide aid to families and couples who may suffer from interpersonal and individual psychological issues. 

Raquel Ignacio, Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Raquel Ignacio Valle. I am working towards attaining my BA in Psychology. I love reading, cooking and of course eating! I also like to watch a lot of real life crime shows and try to understand why people behave the way they did. I am interested in understanding why people do certain things and how their previous experiences can affect them. This led me to be interested in the learning lab since, Dr. Ji focused on how people learn. I plan to take a year off after graduation and during that year I plan to travel to see new places, since I have never really left Los Angeles. I do plan to go on and attain my master’s, but I am still trying to figure out where in the field of Psychology I fit it.