Dr. Aguiar's research focuses on children’s concepts of virtual characters and social robots, and how these concepts change over the course of development and through experience with these technologies. She is also interested in children’s experiences of fully immersive virtual environments, and their concepts of the characters that inhabit these spaces.
Rachel joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2018. Rachel received her doctoral degree from Dartmouth College working with David Kraemer in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning Lab. At Georgetown, she is pleased to be working with Dr. Adam Green and Dr. Ian Lyons. Rachel's research interests include understanding cognition, emotional experience, and emotion regulation as it relates to educational outcomes, such as in math anxiety. Further, her research focuses on how different individuals experience and learn new information, looking at how conceptual representations of knowledge in the brain can be shaped by experience. Rachel's previous research utilizes measures such as psychophysiology (electrodermal activity, electromyography), fMRI, and behavioral measures in the lab, online (MTurk), and in classroom environments to learn more about how emotion influences physiology and cognition. In the Green Lab, Rachel will be working on an NSF-funded project exploring how students learn and develop spatial reasoning skills in real-world educational environments. By examining how these concepts are represented in the brain, this project will help us better understand how we can improve ways to teach and learn new information.