Dr. Barbara Landau

Dr. Landau is the Director of the Science of Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University.  The Institute supports research and application that seeks to understand learning at all levels of scientific inquiry—including how the brain changes through learning, how development and aging affects our ability to learn, how neurological and psychiatric diseases disrupt or change learning, and why there are such vast individual differences that naturally occur among learners. A central part of the mission is to understand how new technologies such as machine learning and new educational programs can optimize learning—whether it occurs in the informal setting of the playground, the more formal setting of a school, a rehabilitation program, or on-the-job training.

Dr. Landau's research focuses on the nature, acquisition and development of human knowledge of space and language. Her central interests concern the nature of the cognitive "primitives" that are in place during early development, and support our remarkable capacity to recognize objects, move around space in a directed fashion, and talk about our spatial experience. Her research draws on a variety of approaches, including traditional experimental and linguistic methods adopted for young children. Although much of her work concerns the mechanisms of typical development, she is also interested in unusual cases of development, which can shed light on typical development and cognition.

Dr. Landau is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. She is a noted authority on Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder caused by the absence of genes in a person¹s chromosomal makeup.