The Foundations of Cognition and Learning (FOCAL) lab based at the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), includes more than 30 scholars from several universities. Using multiple methods such as secondary analysis of large-scale databases, intervention and measurement development, and randomized control trials (RCTs), we study the cognitive processes that underpin learning throughout the school years. These processes are fundamental to adaptive school performance and achievement in the traditional areas of mathematics and literacy achievement, and as such, are situated within students’ social contexts. The cognitive foundations that are central to our studies include motivation, executive function and self-regulation, sensorimotor and visuospatial processing, phonological skills, and general knowledge of the world. 


Affiliated Faculty:

Offsite Affiliates and Collaborators:

Graduate Students:

Other Lab Staff:

  • Pam Jiranek
  • Shelley Lieberman