Research Projects 

This page is being updated! In the meantime, please check out the projects I'm a part of at my current lab or my undergrad lab or at my CV

CoCoDev @ Harvard

Pretend play as it relates to: goal-directed behavior, information search, and empowerment! 

Counterfactual reasoning as it relates to: simulating alternative possibilities, facilitating pretend play ^ , and learning-by-thinking!

Questions & Answers: question-asking behaviors and characteristics, metaphorical explanations, abstractions, and more

BRITElab @ Duke

Metaphors to Teach By

How do students’ intuitive beliefs about the nature of teaching influence their academic behaviors and outcomes? One way that intuitive beliefs are conveyed is via metaphor, which both reflect and shape how people think about complex subjects (Flusberg et al., 2018). For example, when we describe a teacher as “molding impressionable students”, we imply that a teacher is like a sculptor. How do such metaphors reflect our academic attitudes and behaviors? Can we change academic attitudes and behaviors using metaphor?

[LINK] Wong, M., Flusberg, S.J., & Hard, B.M. (2022). Uncovering the structure of metaphorical lay theories of teaching II: What do different metaphors imply about students? Metaphor and the Social World.

[LINK] Hard, B. M, *Liang, N., *Wong, M., & Flusberg, S. J.  (2021). Metaphors we teach by: Uncovering the structure of metaphorical lay theories of teaching. Metaphor and the Social World, 11(1), 46-70. 

[LINK] Flusberg, S. J. & Hard, B. M. (2019). Metaphors we teach by: A method for mapping metaphorical lay theories. In A.K. Goel, C.M. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds), Proceedings of the 41st annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 316-322). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

[IN PREP] Wong, M., Hard, B. M., & Flusberg, S. J. (in preparation). Communicating metaphors of

teaching via email: perceptions of teacher traits and course expectations.


Over forty years of research support the use of participation in higher education as a way to improve student engagement and academic outcomes. Given the importance of collaboration in both the classroom and the workplace, how should instructors work to develop their students as effective collaborators? Would reframing participation as collaboration improve students’ psychological and emotional well-being, academic outcomes, and long-term success? How can instructors define, teach, and assess participation in a way that emphasizes collaborative thinking?

[IN PREP] Falbaum, J., Wong., M, & Hard, B.M. (in preparation). Evaluating a collaborative framework. 

Online Learning

During COVID-19, there has been a shift in teaching at all levels of schooling, elementary to graduate, from in-person to online classes. This has forced teachers and professors across the country to transition and adapt their curriculum and lectures for online learning. Do different online lecture formats cause students to feel closer and more connected to their professor and the class material? How can professors adjust their online classes to best support their students?

[LINK] Wong, M., Marshall, L. M., Blank, H. C., & Hard, B.M. (2022). Up close and personal: Examining effects of instructor video presence on student’s sense of connection. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.

more to come! 


Liu J., Wong, M., Hard, B.M. (under review). The impact of norm- and criterion-referenced

grading systems on student expectations in a hypothetical course. Social Psychology of


Falbaum, J., Wong, M., Hard, B. M. (under review). Reframing Classroom Participation as

Collaboration: Evaluating the Impact of a Collaborative Framework in Messages to Students.


Lipstein., Wong, M., Hard, B.M. (ACCEPTED!).

Wong, M., Hard, B. M., & Flusberg, S. J. (in preparation). Communicating metaphors of

teaching via email: perceptions of teacher traits and course expectations.

Moshontz, H., Yust, P., Wong, M., Dotson. K., & Hard, B. M.. (in preparation). An

experimental study of the impact of smartphones on classroom enjoyment, attention, and