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Stella Felix LourencoDirector of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor


Dr. Stella F. Lourenco received her undergraduate degree (B.Sc.) from the University of Toronto where she graduated with Highest Honours in 2000. She then attended The University of Chicago, completing her Ph.D. in 2006. She has been at Emory University in the Department of Psychology since January 2007 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2013. She is Associate Editor of the journal Cognition and on the editorial board of the Journal of Cognition and Development. Dr. Lourenco has received numerous academic awards and honors including a Merck Scholar Award (2010). Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. 


Research Interests

Spatial perception and cognition, which includes geometric coding in young children, sex and socioeconomic differences, spatial reasoning in atypical populations, and influences of tool use in spatial representation.

Research Areas

Broadly speaking, Stella Lourenco’s research program examines the nature, origins, and development of spatial and numerical cognition. Dr. Lourenco studies how human adults and young children represent number and other magnitudes, their strategies in spatial navigation, the computational algorithms underlying shape recognition within navigation and object systems, as well as the spatial biases associated with evolutionary-based fears. Her lab uses behavioral techniques, including eye tracking, virtual reality, and psychophysical paradigms, to shed light on these topics, and, more recently fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to test models of magnitude representation. A current focus of her lab is using longitudinal designs to study how visuospatial processing may come to support the understanding of symbolic quantitative concepts and mathematical development more generally.


  • PSYC 190: Freshman Seminar
  • PSYC 310: Cognitive Development
  • PSYC 610: Developmental Theory and Methods
  • PSYC 611: Cognitive Theory & Methods
  • PSYC 730R: Culture and Cognition
  • PSYC 776R: Cogn. Developmental Issues Seminar