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2019 DevSci Pilot Research Initiatives

DevSci is proud to announce the 2019 recipients of our Cluster Seed Funds

Every year DevSci accepts graduate student applications for the DevSci Pilot Research Initiatives, a highly competitive program that offers a year of seed funds to a graduate student who exemplifies a dedication to transforming developmental science in a multifaceted approach. Winning proposals reflect not only DevSci’s mission to promote lifespan health through transdisciplinary methodology, but an ambitious approach to inquiry.

This year’s seed funds will go to Jiayin Xing and Ping Rochanavibhata for their insightful and catalyzing proposals.

Cross-cultural Comparison of Narrative Competence in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Student Principal Investigator

Jiayin Xing, 2nd year Communication Sciences & Disorders doctoral candidate 

Faculty Advisors

Molly Losh, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Viorica Marian,Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders


This study will examine cultural influences on narrative competence in children with ASD. Xing will utilize narratives collected from English- and Cantonese-speaking children with ASD and analyze the data for biological and environmental influences on the development of ASD. By utilizing methodology and theory from a variety of fields such as psycholinguistics, developmental psychology, and communication sciences and disorders, this project will attend to a core developmental question from multiple levels of analysis and context.

Language development in bilingual preschoolers: a cross-linguistic and cross-cultural comparison

Student Principal Investigator

Ping Rochanavibhata, 4th year Communication Sciences & Disorders doctoral candidate


Faculty Advisors

Viorica Marian, Ralph and Jean Sundin Endowed Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Sandra Waxman, Louis W. Menk Professor, Department of Psychology

This research will examine communication styles of Thai-English bilingual mother-child dyads in the United States and Thailand to better understand the consequences of bilingualism for language development, specifically in interpersonal communication and interactions during preschool years. Rochanavibhata will compare bilingual mother-child conversation patterns across their two languages against monolingual counterparts using four naturalistic tasks: prompted reminiscing, book sharing, toy play, and child personal narrative.