Michelle M. Chouinard
 
Michelle M. Chouinard
 
Founding Faculty & Assistant Professor
School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
 
Contact Information:
University of California, Merced
School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
 
Office Phone: 209-228-6983
Lab Phone: 209-205-8694
 
Research Interests:
The unifying objective of my research is to understand the role that adult-child conversation plays in children’s cognitive development; I believe such conversation has unique strengths that not only allow children to gather general and specific information needed within and across all domains, but also allow them to navigate the radical reorganizations they will need to make within more specific domains of cognitive development. My research currently consists of three primary lines of investigation. The first directly studies children’s ability to ask questions when they need more information, a powerful mechanism at work in adult-child conversation; the second examines the information parents give to children comparing animals to humans, and how this may play an important role in children’s developing understanding of naïve biology and theory of mind; finally, the third program investigates how parents’ and children’s attempts to make themselves understood during the course of a conversation may contribute importantly to children’s acquisition of language by providing children with needed information about the conventionally accepted forms used in their language.
 
Education:
Ph.D., 2005 – Stanford University
M.A., 2001 – Stanford University
B.A., 1997 – U.C. Berkeley