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AI and Visual Thinking

Primary Investigators:
Maithilee Kunda
Brief Description of Project:
Our research lies at the intersection of AI and cognitive science. We study how humans think about the world in visual terms, and we design and conduct experiments with visual-thinking AI systems in order to better understand human cognition as well as to advance the capabilities of autonomous and interactive technology systems.

Some of our current work includes (for example): 1) designing a new educational technology platform for teaching social skills to middle school students on the autism spectrum; 2) studying how neural networks can be modified to model early visual learning in infants; 3) developing new techniques for analyzing the types of visual information humans receive from the world, using wearable cameras and eye tracking; 4) investigating cognitive strategy differences on standardized intelligence tests, i.e., how different people might solve the same problem in very different ways; and 5) studying how scientists interpret and interact with data visualizations, initially looking at the domain of astronomy.

For more information on specific projects, please visit our lab website:

Desired Qualifications:
We are seeking students with various types of experience, including computer science / engineering but also psychology / cognitive studies, education, astronomy, etc.
Nature of Supervision:
Students will work as part of project teams that includes postdocs, graduate students, and other undergraduates. There will be weekly small project meetings to plan specific tasks and provide updates, as well as weekly full lab meetings to discuss broader research topics, with one-on-one meetings scheduled as needed.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Week 1: Introduction, getting acquainted with the project and team
Weeks 2-5: Learning about and working on system design, data collection, etc.
Weeks 6-9: Working on analysis and further investigations
Week 10: Preparing a final report on the research results

Number of Open Slots: 1
Contact Information:
Name: Maithilee Kunda
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science