Sabancı University MLT Lab

Led by the principal investigator Dr. Junko Kanero, Sabancı University Mind, Language, & Technology Lab conducts many scientific studies to advance the theoretical understanding of cognitive processes to provide practical implications of the research. We believe in an interdisciplinary approach, and the topics integrate several research areas including psychology, education, linguistics, and human-computer interaction. 

Our Team

Dr. Junko Kanero

Principle Investigator of the MLT Lab
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Junko is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the MLT Lab. As a cognitive and developmental psychologist, Junko examines language as a window into human cognition. In 2016, she received her PhD in Developmental Psychology and Neuroscience from Temple University in the US. She then moved to Istanbul to work as a postdoctoral researcher at Koç University. In January 2019, she was appointed as an Assistant Professor at Sabancı University. Together with the wonderful members of the MLT Lab, Junko explores language development in infancy and childhood, the use of technology in language education, and how language and non-linguistic cognition interact. She speaks English, Japanese, and Arabic... and some Turkish too. She is also passionate about humanitarian works and volunteers in the local NGO Istanbul&I where she served as the head manager until last December.

Curriculum vitae:


Elif Tutku Tunalı

Tutku is a first-year Master’s student. Her primary research interest is the interaction between language and thought. She enjoys watching sports matches and movies, especially independent films.


İrem Gözelekli

İrem graduated last semester (major in psychology and minor in gender studies), but continues to work in the MLT Lab as an experienced and essential member of the lab! She plans to become a clinical psychologist, and she is currently trying to decide whether to specialize in couples and family therapy. İrem is interested in developmental psychology, human bonding, and gender stereotypes, as well as their effects on human behaviors in general. She likes playing volleyball and traveling to new places.


Ceren Boynuk

Ceren is a third year Bachelor’s student. She wants to be a psychologist since she was 6 years old! She likes singing and playing Sudoku. Ceren has been our chief graphic designer. Many of the images you see on our instagram profile and are created by her. She has also been essential part of our robot language project pointing gesture project.

Ayşenaz Akbay

Ayşenaz Akbay

Ayşenaz finished her undergraduate education last summer, and she is currently a first-year Master’s student studying clinical psychology at Yeditepe University. She hopes to work with adult clients, and is especially interested in loss and grief. She is also very passionate about cinema and loves watching films.


Ali Özen

Ali is a senior psychology student at Sabancı. He is mainly interested in infant social and emotional development, as well as developmental psychology as a whole. He is a music enthusiast, and plays the classical and electric guitar. He also loves reading about science and philosophy. 


Serap Özlü

Serap earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Boğaziçi University, and has been working as a research assistant in the MLT Lab since September 2020! Her research interest are metacognition and social cognition. She also likes watching anime and hiking.


Helin Erden

Helin is a third-year psychology undergraduate at Boğaziçi University. She is intersted in social cognition and language-cognition interactions. She hopes to pursue her graduate studies in cognitive science. Besides that, she loves reading, writing, volunteering, and petting cats


Berna Yıldıran

Berna is a third-year Computer Science and Engineering student but she is also interested in Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design. She plans to apply for Master studies in this area once she graduate! She is interested in Web / Mobile Development, UI-UX Design, Motion Graphics, and 3D Modelling / Animation. 


Aysun Öğüt

Aysun is a second-year Computer Science and Engineering student and also doing in minor in Decision and Behavior & Entrepreneurship at Sabancı. She values creativity and likes to create new ways of bringing different disciplines together. Her areas of interest are visual computing, HCI, HRI, AI. She became a part of MLT Lab within the PURE program and is currently working on the Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) project with other PURE members.


Aslı Aydınlar

Asli worked in the PURE Project Spring 2021 “Let’s Develop a Researcher Robot!”. Together with three other members, she developed a Pepper robot program that can greet and help participants for our studies!


Göktuğ Gençkaya

Göktug worked in the PURE Project Spring 2021 “Let’s Develop a Researcher Robot!”. Together with three other members, he developed a Pepper robot program that can greet and help participants for our studies!