Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

The CNBC is the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University’s joint neuroscience research and education program.


Pitt Neuroscience: Postdoc Candidate Seminar: Lee Vaasjo Munoz: ” Novel mechanisms in the specification and maintenance of cortical projection neuron identity” @ 219A Langley Hall
Mar 5 @ 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

University of Pittsburgh Department of Neuroscience presents:

Speaker: Lee Vaasjo Munoz

Tulane University

Postdoctoral Associate candidate for the Chamberland Lab


Seminar title: “ Novel mechanisms in the specification and maintenance of cortical projection neuron identity”



Tuesday, March 5, 2024
219A Langley Hall

11:00 A.M. EST

Host: Dr. Simon Chamberland



NOTE: No virtual option will be provided.

Pitt Psych: Dissertation Defense: Alex M. Silver: Cognitive Mechanisms and Social Influences in Number Word Acquisition
Mar 6 @ 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Dissertation Defense


Alex M. Silver

Wednesday, March 6th at 1 p.m.

Murdoch Building: Room 424

Zoom link: (password: pitt)


Cognitive Mechanisms and Social Influences in Number Word Acquisition


               Individual differences in symbolic math skills have consequences for academic, career, financial, and health outcomes in daily life. This dissertation will focus on the development of number word knowledge in early childhood, a foundational skill required for later symbolic math learning. In three studies I will chart the development of number word knowledge, test the cognitive mechanisms involved in learning number words, and explore the role of environmental influences in this process. Specifically, in Study 1 I will show that toddlers already possess some understanding of number words that allows them to identify a quantity corresponding to a number word, despite limited understanding of exact cardinal values. Study 2 then assesses the cognitive mechanisms responsible for supporting number word comprehension in children who are in the process of learning the meanings of number words. I demonstrate that toddlers may succeed at identifying number words because they rely on approximate representations of quantity of the Approximate Number System and the parallel individuation of the Object Tracking System. While the majority of toddlers show a preliminary comprehension of number words, there are already substantial individual differences in their performance. Study 3 examines the role of environmental influences in number word learning by exploring how parents’ engagement in math activities is related to toddlers’ number word comprehension. In the final portion of this dissertation, I provide evidence suggesting that variations in parents’ engagement in math activities with their toddlers may be one reason for these early differences in exact number knowledge. Altogether, this work contributes to our understanding of the developmental trajectory of number word acquisition, the cognitive mechanisms that underly this process, and the role of social influences in supporting number word acquisition.






Committee Chair and Advisor: Dr. Melissa Libertus

CNBC Postdoc Writing Group
Mar 8 @ 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

CNBC Postdoc Writing Group

Fridays, 2-4pm

Contact: Andrew Gerlach (

Location is typically Zoom: (Passcode: 1234)

Description: Two hour block dedicated to writing papers, grants, reviews, etc. We use the Pomodoro system of 25 min blocks with 5 min breaks in between to chitchat.

There’s a group of ~10 people who attend semi-regularly. On any given week, it’s typical to have 3-5 people. It’s used for accountability and setting aside a dedicated chunk of time for writing (although some people use it for analysis or whatever else they may need to focus on). It’s also been helpful in building a postdoc community.

Please reach out to Andrew with any questions!