I’m a fifth-year PhD candidate in developmental psychology at Stanford University, aiming to graduate in June 2024.
Social categories like gender and race structure much of our human experience. Yet we’re not born knowing all about these categories. Rather, from a young age, we learn to draw conceptual borders to parse our social world. We learn on what basis to group people together, what it means to belong to this or that category, and what expectations and norms to deploy based on someone’s category membership.
I’m primarily interested in how we learn to represent social categories, and what role language plays in that process. Here are a handful of questions I’ve been pondering.
- How do we develop representations of social categories? Given the infinite ways in which we could theoretically categorize people, how do we learn what attributes and distinctions are relevant, meaningful, and/or value-laden?
- How does language shape how we think about social categories? What do children learn about social categories from the way we talk about social categories? How might the way we talk sustain, recreate, or alter the social world we describe?
- How should we reason about social categories? How can we promote beneficial ways of understanding social categories?
Other random interests of mine include social ontology, conceptual ethics, applied philosophy of language, pragmatics, and speech acts. Although psychology and cognitive science is my home turf, I love learning about perspectives on these issues from philosophy, linguistics, gender studies, race & ethnicity studies, and beyond.