Language acquisition unites common sense observations and counterintuitive puzzles. It is obvious that caregiver input impacts children’s development. Yet, we also see remarkable ways in which learning goes beyond what’s in the input. Teasing apart this tension has profound implications for how society addresses variable language outcomes. As educators, how do we close the achievement gap? As clinicians, can we predict effective interventions? While traditional approaches focus on better characterizations of inputs and outcomes, here at the Language and Cognition Laboratory (LCL) we take on these challenges through the eyes of learners. What representations do children recruit when interpreting language? How do these computations change over time? Our research pursues the notion that year-to-year development involves an evolving capacity to extract relevant information on a moment-to-moment basis. Or put another way, to understand why input predicts outcomes, we need to know how it’s being used. For more information on studies or how to participate, please follow the menu links.