Post Doc Award Recipients

Jonathan Kominsky (Harvard Graduate School of Education)


The Talk of the Town project is an effort to create a new mobile-app-based data collection platform for studies of developing belief. Jonathan has constructed a technical proof-of-concept app and evaluated platforms to ensure that he could achieve all of the proposed functionality at the app level.  The next phase of the project is to take everything Jonathan has learned from the technical proof of concept work and create the actual functional version of the platform. The goal is to have the system ready for initial technical piloting in August (creating a test study, sending it to a researcher phone, receiving data), at which point the aim is to enter a research agreement and begin full piloting in the fall.

Yian Xu (2).jpg

Yian Xu (Conceptual Development and Social Cognition Lab, New York University).


Yian received her B.A. in French literature from Peking University, Ed.M. in human development and psychology from Harvard University, and completed her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on the role of culture, language, and experience in shaping how children and adults make sense of the world, especially between western and east Asian societies. Currently, her postdoctoral fellowship project aims to reveal how psychological essentialism—an intuitive framework for understanding the structure of the biological and social world—is associated with children’s early acquisition and development of religious beliefs across cultural contexts.