Vanessa Simmering is a Senior Research Scientist in ACTNext’s Learning Solutions group. Prior to joining the ACTNext team, Vanessa was a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Vanessa’s research focuses on understanding the relation between cognitive representations and behavior using computational modeling. In 2015, she and her collaborators published Dynamic Thinking, a primer on the application of dynamic neural field modeling to cognition and development. Her work at ACTNext aims to develop mechanistic models of learning using the latest theoretical and computational tools from cognitive and developmental science.

Vanessa earned her BS and PhD in psychology from the University of Iowa. Her expertise is in child development, and her prior work examined how memory capacity improves to support increasingly complex behaviors during early childhood.


Contact: Vanessa.Simmering (at)

Dr. Simmering’s full CV is available here.