Loyola University Chicago



Elizabeth Wakefield

Neuroscience welcomes Dr. Elizabeth Wakefield of Psychology to its faculty. Dr. Wakefield received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2013 before doing post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago.  Liz leads a research program focused on how the actions we produce and observe every day have the power to help us learn and change the way we think. In particular, she examines two distinct, yet related, types of actions we make with our hands: Concrete actions, which are used to directly manipulate our environment, and gestures, which often accompany our speech, and help us represent and manipulate ideas. Dr. Wakefield employs behavioral, eye tracking and neuroimaging methods to explore how these forms of movement affect cognitive development from infancy to adulthood. Her research touches on many domains, including language, music, and, mathematics, but has three common goals. These are: (1) to understand how we process and interpret the meaning of gesture and action, (2) to determine how these forms of movement have similar and distinct impacts on how we learn, and (3) to explore the mechanisms that drive these cognitive effects. You are welcome to meet her and hear about her research at the first Neuroscience Seminar of the year. This will be held in 109 Cuneo Hall on September 6th at 4:00 p.m. Her talk is entitled "Using our hands to change our minds: How gesture and action shape cognition."