Angie Johnston

Primary Investigator

Angie Johnston is an assistant professor at Boston College where she directs the Canine Cognition Center and Social Learning Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale University and her B.S. in Child Development from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her research on canine cognition and child development has received numerous awards from sources such as the National Science Foundation, and her work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, and Scientific American. When she’s not in the lab investigating how dogs and children learn about the world around them, you can find her at home getting new study ideas from her dog, Vader. You can find more information at her personal website here:

Molly Byrne

Ph.D. Student


From personal relationships to society at large, humans have unprecedented abilities to interact with one another, even from infancy. Complex abilities like language, empathy and shared social realities must have evolved from other, simpler traits, like theory of mind, joint attention, and social expectations. Molly is really interested in these fundamental mechanisms. She believes that studying comparison species like dogs is the best way to get at the different pressures that might have caused these abilities to evolve.

Research Assistants

Frida Reyes

Frida is a junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is a summer intern at the Canine Cognition Center at Boston College, and is interested in the cognitive capabilities and social learning of dogs, as well as how it compares to human children. During her free time, Frida enjoys volunteering at her local animal shelter, hiking, running, and spending time with her pets at home.

Kayla Sawyer

Kayla Sawyer is a senior at Boston College who is studying to receive her Bachelor of Science in neuroscience with minors in biology, medical humanities, and managing for social impact. She has grown up surrounded by dogs and has two dogs at home: a pitbull named Winnie and a German Shepherd named Racke. Kayla loves working as a research assistant in the Canine Cognition Center and her favorite part of the job is meeting as many dogs as possible. Kayla is particularly interested in social cognition and learning more about emotion in dogs. When she is not spending time with her canine friends, Kayla is probably spending time with kids instead, as she enjoys spending her free time with her nieces and nephew.

Lindsey Faucher

Lindsey Faucher is an REU summer intern at the Boston College Canine Cognition Center. She is a rising sophomore studying Psychology and International Studies with a minor in French. Lindsey is particularly interested in dogs’ social learning and their unique connection with humans. In her free time, Lindsey enjoys hiking, traveling, and trying new foods. She currently has a 3-year-old pitbull/labrador mix named Apollo.

Mark Schmitt

Mark Schmitt is a rising Senior in the Canine Cognition Center double-majoring in Psychology and English. Like so many other research assistants, Mark has grown up around dogs his entire life, and is beyond grateful for the opportunity to work alongside and better understand them. He is currently working on the re-engagement study which investigates if dogs are capable of joint intentionality, something believed to be exclusive to humans. When not studying dogs, Mark is the president of the CCE, a comedy group on campus, and he enjoys reading/writing, going on runs, and spending quality time with friends.

Zachary Tidd

Zachary Tidd is a recent graduate of Boston College who is studying Psychology. He has always been interested in animals, their behaviors, and the way they interact with each other. Zach joined the lab in the Fall of 2019, and is excited to be a research assistant and work with dogs. He has a 9-year-old beagle mix named Lex.

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