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Julia Leonard, PhD

Faculty Member

Center for Neurocognition and Behavior

Email | Lab | Department

Learning and motivation in development

Learning is a process that requires effort, but individuals cannot put the same amount of effort into everything. Every day, people have to make a decision about what's worth their time and energy - when to persevere and when to switch to a different activity. The Leonard Learning Lab focuses on investigating the cognitive, neural, and computational processes that underlie children's decision-making about how much effort to put into a task. They study children from diverse backgrounds, from infancy to early adolescence, and use a combination of observational and experimental methods, including behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging techniques. Their ultimate aim is to gain a comprehensive and causal understanding of how children learn in response to different environmental stimuli and to apply their findings to develop interventions that can enhance children's academic, social, and health outcomes.




Julia Leonard received her BA in Neuroscience and Behavior from Wesleyan University, her PhD in Cognitive Science from MIT and completed a MindCore postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Psychology Department at Yale University in 2021. Julia enjoys climbing and puzzles.