Learn Labbies

Dr. Ji Son, Lab Director

Ji Son

Dr. Son is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on how people learn and generalize their learning to new situations. The central idea behind her work is that learning changes the way we SEE the world! Many of the studies in the Learning Lab examines the role of perception in how students and young children learn abstract ideas, such as math and science. Area: Cognitive development, category learning, perceptual learning, learning and transfer

Caylor Davis, Graduate Student

Caylor Davis

Salutations! I am a graduate student in the Psychology MA program, and received my BA in Linguistics and Psychology from UCLA. My research interests lie at the intersection of language, gesture, and cognition. More particularly, I am interested in the ways spatial language may impact the way we learn abstract concepts or form spatial categorizations. I approach research questions related to this through the framework of embodied cognition theories, in hopes of furthering our understanding of mind-body interactions. In those rare moments of free time, I enjoy being outdoors or being endlessly amused by cymatic experiments.

Alyssa Lawson, Graduate Student

Alyssa Lawson

My name is Alyssa Lawson, and I am a graduate student in the Psychology MA program. I received my BA in Psychology from Chapman University. The field of cognitive psychology that interests me most is learning and memory. My research revolves around how different kinds of explanation enhance learning outcomes. I am currently running a study on conceptual explanations and their effect on understanding statistics problems. When I am not busy with school, research, or work, I like to watch Criminal Minds, since it is the show that helped develop my interest in psychology.

Priscilla Ramos, MORE RISE Scholar

Priscilla Ramos

Hi! My name is Priscilla Ramos and I am pursing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I am interested in better understanding the various ways children learn, behave, and cope through hardships. These three components are of great interest to me because I believe these are the areas of focus in which we can help children reach a successful development. As a current member of the MORE program, I have the opportunity and resources to succeed in a career in research. My ultimate goal is to explore my interests through a research-based career. Aside from my education, I enjoy going to soccer games and seeing my favorite artists (preferably Kanye West) live in concert.

Brittany Ayalya, MORE RISE Scholar

Brittany Ayala

My name is Brittany Ayala, I am currently an Undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Ji's Learning Lab and a student in the MORE program at CalStateLA. So far my research interests have consisted of investigating the role of directed action on memorization in online lecture videos. Besides being an Undergraduate researcher, I am also a member of the co-ed National Service Fraternity of Alpha Phi Omega and the Golden Key International Honor Society.

Jackie Lin, RA

Jackie Lin

Jackie is an undergraduate student working towards a BS in Biochemistry. Her research examines ways in which chemistry can be taught to facilitate greater understanding. This is a collaborative project with Dr. Ji Son (Psychology) and Dr. James Rudd (Chemistry/Natural Sciences) since it deals with how students learn chemistry. She hopes to pursue a MD in the future. In her free time, she enjoys figure skating and spending time with family.

Lily Nguyen, RA

Lily Nguyen

My name is Lily and I am an undergraduate student working towards a BS in Biochemistry. I want to go to med school and specialize in neuroscience because of my interest in the chemistry of the brain. I love learning about how arbitrary chemicals in the brain cause us to behave in certain ways. In addition, my interest in psychology stems from my fascination in how things work. Working in this lab gives me insight on behavioral traits that all humans share. Otherwise, in my spare time, I like to watch TV shows, read comic books, and play music.

Rachel Mi, RA

Rachel Mi

Hello, my name is Rachel and I am an undergraduate student pursuing a BA in Psychology. I currently engage in an afterschool project that examines the improvement of ELL students throughout the school year. I am interested in attending graduate school to obtain a degree in Counseling. I aspire to prepare myself with professional skills that can be used to assist people suffering with mental health issues in the future.

Luis Patino, RA


My name is Luis Patino and I'm an undergraduate pursuing a BA in psychology. Currently I am panticipating in an after-school program that focuses on improving the learning/performance of ELL students. Every one deserves a chance to learn. Our goal is to ensure that these children are given that opportunity. Even though it may be a tougher battle for them, we aim to help them reach their goals and surpass prior expectations. I believe most people are capable of learning and achieving great things, we just need to figure out the best techniques for them to do so. I am planning on going to graduate school as well, however I have not fully decided whether or not I'd like to pursue forensic psychology or stay in the realm of research psychology.

Effieana Irianto, RA


Hi, my name is Effieana Irianto. I am currently an undergraduate student at CSULA pursuing a BA in Psychology. I am currently involved with an online learning study that examines the influence of gestures on memory and learning. I want to know if there are other techniques that would better help a person understand complicated concepts. I believe such techniques should be utilized in a school setting and, therefore, I have been currently exploring my options in teaching. I also enjoy watching movies and trying new food.

Melissa Benavides, RA


Hello! My name is Melissa Benavides and I am currently an undergraduate student pursuing a BA in Psychology. I am currently involved in research that examines the progression of English language learner (ELL) students over the course of the school year. As a psychology major, I am interested in understanding people's behavioral motives and I am interested in understanding and analyzing the circumstances that permit an effective learning experience for children in school. Aside from school, I love to spend my free time watching crime shows and documentaries and seeing my favorite artists/bands (OneRepublic, Demi Lovato, etc!) in concert.

Amanda Rico, RA


Hello, my name is Amanda Rico and I'm a college student at California State University Los Angeles. As a psychology major, I aspire to graduate and aim for a masters degree in either school or clinical psychology. The human mind and the ability to help others, with tools as simple as words, has always interested me. Hopefully our learning lab might give others insight and help further better their lives and studies! 



Students who have worked with Dr. Ji in the past:

Mariela Rivas Ph.D., Graduate student @ UCI, class of 2020

Cynthia Alarcon Ph.D., Graduate student @ University of Texas, Austin, class of 2020

Donna Chen Ph.D., Graduate student @ University of Nebraska, class of 2020

Yu Zhang Ph.D., Graduate student @ UC Santa Cruz, class of 2019

Craig Terasawa M.S.W., Graduate student @ Azusa Pacific University, class of 2014

Phoutdavone "Noy" Phimphasone Ph.D., Graduate student @ UNC, Charlotte, class of 2016

Katerina Schenke Ph.D., Graduate student @ UCI, class of 2015

K.P. Thai Ph.D., Age of Learning

Stacy Einikis M.A., Graduate student @ Adler School of Professional Psychology, class of 2010

Michelle Leslie Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Megan Haselschwerdt Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Human Development, Auburn University