Dr. Jennifer Campbell
Prior to coming to UBC, Jennifer received her B.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Calgary, completing her honors thesis with Dr. Suzanne Curtin. Moving to Vancouver, Jennifer completed her Ph.D. at UBC in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Geoff Hall. Since then, Jennifer has been pursuing a degree in Computer Science while continuing to conduct research here at the Infant Studies Centre.
Jennifer’s research focuses on the nature of infants’ early word representations. In her dissertation, Jennifer showed not only that infants as young as 6-month-old have multiple words in their early vocabulary, but also that this early vocabulary includes words with different referential scopes. For instance, 6-month-olds understand labels for their caregivers as having individual scope (e.g., “Mommy”) and understand labels for some objects as having categorical scope (e.g., “hand”). One hypothesis to explain this remarkable ability is that an early capacity to conceptualize animate objects (e.g., people) differently than inanimate objects (e.g., body parts) may help infants to assign words of different scope to objects belonging to each of these categories. Jennifer’s current research explores this idea by using electrophysiological (EEG) and machine-learning techniques to reveal the extent to which brain representations include complex properties such as animacy and agency.
When not studying or coding, Jennifer is an avid runner and can be found training for her next race.