Description of Jacqueline
I earned my BA in Cognitive Science from Yale University in 2008. For my undergraduate thesis, I spent a summer researching synesthesia with Dr. Julia Simner at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (thanks to the Tetelman Award).
Between finishing my BA and starting my graduate studies at Oxford, I worked as a research assistant at Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, investigating the psychological effects of food advertising on children and young adults.
During my time at Yale, I was fortunate enough to conduct research in a wide variety of topics within cognitive science, including music cognition (with Dr. Bruno Repp), comparative cognition in non-human primates (with Dr. Laurie Santos), linguistic processing (with Dr. Carol Fowler), and synesthesia (with Dr. Lawrence Marks).
I am principally interested in how we, as humans, perceive and represent the over-complicated world rushing around us. Although this is a broad question that translates into multiple disciplines, so far the primary focus of my curiosity has been synesthesia, along with language and number cognition.
I find synesthesia to be a particularly fascinating window into human cognition; just think of all the cross-modal or cross-domain associations (e.g. loud colors, sharp tastes, etc.) that “non-synaesthetes” make every day! If synesthesia is indeed simply a more explicit form of implicit associations (or patterns of association) that all of us tend to make, then it can certainly tell us much about human cognition. And, I admit, there is an additional, much simpler factor contributing to my enduring interest in the topic; as a grapheme-color and sequence-spatial synaesthete myself, I encounter synesthesia personally on a day-to-day basis. This leads to the spontaneous formulation of a great many research questions (and, conveniently, it also provides me with an ever-willing pilot participant!)
My research seeks to shed light on the neurological origins of synesthesia and its relation to more universal forms of sensory and conceptual processing. Currently, I am examining the connections between number-space synaesthesia (in which individuals experience vivid mental number forms) and more general numerical cognition.