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Preschoolers’ Language Ability, Executive Functioning, Understanding of the Nature of Language, Social Cognition, and Academic Skills (PI: Dr. Vanessa Diaz)

In this project we are interested in the factors during preschool that predict children’s readiness to begin elementary school. We are interested in both cognitive and linguistic factors that make it easier for children to do well in school, such as literacy, language proficiency, and early academic skills. We are interested in how these processes are similar or different in children that are exposed to one versus more than one language.

Participants: children 3-4 years of age 

All languages are welcomed and desired!


Girls Launch: Who is Smart? Who is a Scientist? (PI: Dr. Vanessa Diaz)

Recent evidence (Bian, Leslie, & Cimpian; 2017) has shown that gender-based stereotypes around intelligence manifest themselves by the end of kindergarten, with almost-6-year-old girls more likely to choose men than women when told to point to a “really, really smart person.” This finding was related to girls being less likely than boys to choose an activity for “children who are really, really smart.”

With Girls Launch, we hope to expose kindergarten-aged children to interactive science and engineering presentations by Virginia Tech female graduate and undergraduate students. We will assess gender-based stereotypes at the beginning of the school year and then again at the end of the year, both in the classrooms receiving the visits from graduate and undergraduate students and in a control group.

Participants: Kindergarten students (ages 5 or 6)

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