I study how action, perception, and language support our ability to interact with objects. I use block building as a case study, and measure this complex behavior by designing online interfaces that track the actions people take as they build. I then create computational and statistical models that aim to explain why people build as they do.


We interact with objects every day, but how do we draw on this wealth of experience when we need to learn more complex behaviors? In this project I looked at how people improve at building when they practice.


Why does interacting with objects make it easier to do things with them the next time around? One idea is that interaction restructures your perception so that you can see the options available to you. In this project I’m exploring whether the way vision breaks down objects into parts depends on the way you’ve interacted with them before.


How do we keep track of and communicate about actions as they become increasingly complex? Language provides us with tools for this, but how do people agree on words for referring to something as transitory as ‘action’? In this project we looked at how collaborators for conventions for talking about the things they built together.