New Faculty
Dima Amso Assistant Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University

Dima Amso
Assistant Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences

By Anne Coyle  |  September 1, 2010  |  Email to a friend

How do infants gain their thinking and emotional abilities with such limited interactive tools? This question forms the basis of Dima Amso’s research, and as the mother of a toddler, she faces it in her daily life as well.

Amso, who is joining the Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences Department as an assistant professor, looks at the role of simple mechanisms in the development of human complex perceptual and cognitive abilities. She does this in part by using eye tracking and MRI captures on infants.

A common belief is that the eye is the window to soul, but for Amso the eye may be an important piece in how humans first acknowledge, interact with and navigate their environment. From eye movement — both reflexive and voluntary — we add layers that will form the basis for learning and memory functions.

Amso’s interest in how infants use their limited tools to navigate their environments started with her undergraduate experience at Tufts University. Studies with Holly Taylor, who later became her mentor, started Amso thinking about cognitive development.

“I became interested in the classic nature vs. nurture debate but wanted to see how we could measure how we develop into these really distinct, complex human beings,” she said.

Amso continued her studies at New York University, where she earned her Ph.D. in psychology. At NYU, she started to explore how perception was tied to visual exploration. She is moving to Providence from Manhattan, where she was an assistant professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

“I am excited to join the Brown University community,” said Amso. “Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful.”

In her free time, Amso enjoys reading, art history, and interior design.