Lisa Feigenson

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Ames 200D
Group/Lab Website


Lisa Feigenson is co-director of the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory for Child Development. Her research seeks to understand the cognitive primitives that are available throughout the lifespan, as well as changes in children’s thinking with maturation and experience. She uses primarily behavioral methods to study cognitive abilities in infants, children, and adults.

Current research in Feigenson’s lab investigates the development of numerical abilities—asking what factors determine children’s successes (or struggles) with mathematical thinking, the development of working memory—asking what can be remembered and what is forgotten throughout early development, and the nature of early learning—asking how expectations and surprise shape when and what we learn.

Feigenson is the recipient of the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Boyd McCandless Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, and a Scholar Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Her work has appeared in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Psych 200.132: Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Course Aims:

  • To learn the central questions driving the field of developmental psychology, and to learn how to evaluate the types of answers offered to these questions
  • To become versed in the various ways in which theories of development can be empirically tested
  • To study the process of change as humans progress from zygotes to adolescents and beyond
  • To gain exposure to the primary sources used by professionals in the field of developmental psychology
  • To provide a scientific basis for making decisions you may face as a parent, teacher, social policy-maker, or voter

Psych 200.206: Foundations of Mind
Team-taught in the Spring with Prof. Justin Halberda

  • This course is an interdisciplinary investigation into the origin of concepts.
  • Knowledge from the domains of depth perception, objects, number, space, language, and morality are discussed.
  • Students become familiar with primary material from developmental and comparative psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience.
  • In addition to attending lecture, students meet weekly in small sections to collect and discuss data which bear on the claims raised in the readings.

Zosh, J.M. & Feigenson, L., (2012). Memory load affects object individuation in 18-month old infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 113, 322-336.

Moher, M., Tuerk, A.S., & Feigenson, L. (2012). Seven-month old infants chunk items in working memory. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112(4), 361-377.

Feigenson, L. (2011). Objects, sets, and ensembles. In Attention and Performance, Volume XIV, Stanislas Dehaene & Elizabeth Brannon (Eds.), Oxford University Press.

Zosh, J.M., Halberda, J., & Feigenson, L. (2011). Memory for multiple visual ensembles in infancy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(2), 141-158.

Mazzocco, M., Feigenson, L., & Halberda, J. (2011). Impaired acuity of the approximate number system underlies mathematical learning disability. Child Development 82(4), 1224-1237.

Feigenson, L. (2011). Predicting sights from sounds: 6-month old infants’ intermodal numerical abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110(3), 347-361.

Libertus, M.E. Halberda, J. & Feigenson, L. (2011). Preschool acuity of the Approximate Number System correlates with math abilities. Developmental Science, 14(6), 1292-1300.

Mazzocco, M., Feigenson, L., & Halberda, J. (2011). Preschoolers’ precision of the approximate number system predicts later school mathematics performance. PLoS One, 6(9), e23749.

Moher M., Feigenson, L., & Halberda, J. (2010). A one-to-one bias and fast-mapping support preschoolers’ learning about faces and voices. Cognitive Science, 34, 719-751.

Feigenson, L. & Yamaguchi, M. (2009). Limits on infants’ ability to dynamically update object representations. Infancy, 14(2), 244-262.

Zosh, J.M. & Feigenson, L. (2009). Beyond “What” and “How many”: Capacity, complexity, and resolution of infants’ object representations. In The Origins of Object Knowledge. Laurie Santos and Bruce Hood (Eds.), Oxford University Press.

Halberda, J., Mazzocco, M., & Feigenson L. (2008). Individual differences in nonverbal number acuity correlate with maths achievement. Nature, 455, 665-669.

Halberda, J. & Feigenson, L. (2008). Developmental Change in the Acuity of the “Number Sense”: The Approximate Number System in 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-Year-Olds and Adults. Developmental Psychology, 44(5), 1457-1465.

Feigenson, L. & Halberda, J. (2008). Conceptual knowledge increases infants' memory capacity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(29), 9926-9930.

Feigenson, L. (2008). Parallel non-verbal enumeration is constrained by a set-based limit. Cognition, 107, 1-18.

Feigenson, L (2007). Continuity of format and representation in short term memory development. Chapter to appear in Short- and Long-term Memory in Early Childhood: Taking the First Steps Toward Remembering. Lisa Oakes & Patricia Bauer, Eds., Oxford University Press.

Feigenson, L (2007). The equality of quantity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(5), 185-187.

Halberda, J., Sires, S.F., Feigenson, L. (2006). Multiple spatially overlapped sets can be enumerated in parallel. Psychological Science, 17(7), 572-576.

Feigenson, L., & Carey, S. (2005). On the limits of infants’ quantification of small object arrays. Cognition, 97, 295-313.

Feigenson, L. & Halberda, J. (2004). Infants chunk object arrays into sets of individuals. Cognition, 91, 173-190.

Feigenson, L., Dehaene, S, & Spelke, E.S. (2004). Origins and endpoints of the core systems of number: Reply to Fias and Verguts. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(10), 448-449.

Feigenson, L. & Carey, S. (2003). Tracking individuals via object-files: Evidence from infants’ manual search. Developmental Science, 6, 568-584.

Feigenson, L., Carey, S., & Hauser, M. (2002). The representations underlying infants’ choice of more: Object-files versus analog magnitudes. Psychological Science, 13, 150-156.

Feigenson, L., Carey, S., & Spelke, E.S. (2002). Infants’ discrimination of number vs. continuous extent. Cognitive Psychology, 44, 33-66.