Maria Vazquez, Ph.D.

Paula J. Waddill, Ph.D.


How do our initial encounters with others influence our future interactions with them? I study the inferences that children and adults make about others after an initial encounter. I am particularly interested in inferences about knowledge states and social category membership. For example, a speaker’s level of fluency in a language can be assessed rather quickly. This information may be used to determine the amount of complexity in language that we will use when communicating with the same individual in the future. Initial encounters that provide us with information about what others know also help us decide which sources of social information are most likely to be accurate. I explore this by looking at how monolingual and bilingual individuals determine linguistic expertise in others and use this to select sources of new language information.

In addition to the research listed in my vitae, here are some examples of student research projects that I have directed:

  • Children's and adults use of conversation cues when selecting information
  • Preschoolers use nonverbal cues to identify reliable informants in word learning
  • Do context cues help preschoolers by differentiating between reliable and unreliable informants?
  • Learning the language of dreams: The effects of dreaming on second language acquisition
  • Introversion, social support, and depression risk: Exploring interactions between social support and introversion in depression

Curriculum vitae

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