This year, we name Zihan Wang as our 2023 Glushko Outstanding Undergraduate Cognitive Scientist!
Check out Zihan’s research talk recording on “Characterizing Complex Spatial Skills: Block Building in Children as an Exemplar Domain.”
Since the spring semester of her freshman year, Zihan Wang has conducted research continuously in an interdisciplinary Cognitive-Science–Computer-Science–Education lab, whose directors include Prof. Barbara Landau in Cognitive Science. As a result, Zihan is co-author of two papers computationally characterizing the step-by-step actions children and adults take to build block models, and the principles that guide these actions. She contributed to the graphical rendering of action sequences, computation of the degree to which a particular sequence is governed by a child’s goal of creating a stable structure, and the use of eye-tracking to understand the mechanisms guiding children’s block-placement decisions.
She has also taken the lead on an AI project exploring the extent to which the images generated by DALLE-2 from text expressing spatial relationships actually respect those relationships, according to human judges.
On the Dean’s list every semester with stellar grades in her triple major of Cognitive Science, Computer Science, and Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Zihan also served as an extraordinary undergraduate teaching assistant for a Neural Network Theory class, and contributed to increasing appreciation of cognitive science by serving as co-chair of the undergraduate Cognitive Science Honors Society Omega Psi, as co-founder of the Brain-Computer-Interface Society, and as leader of the JHU chapter of the future scientist association, In Transcription.