Faculty Research Labs
Click on a faculty member's name below to learn more about their research interests and labs.
Daniel Berry, The Bioecology, Self-Regulation and Learning Lab
Self-regulation of attention and emotion in childhood; interplay of experience, stress physiology, and self-regulation; longitudinal quantitative methods
Our research focuses on clarifying the processes—mind, brain and environment—through which children’s experiences with their parents, teachers and peers shape their abilities to control their impulses, purposely maintain and shift their attention, and hold and manipulate information in mind. Broadly, this set of inter-related skills is referred to as "self-regulation."
Stephanie Carlson, The Carlson and Zelazo Lab
Our research examines the development of executive function/self-regulation, social understanding, and pretend play/symbolism in young children. We are particularly interested in the interactions among these skills, and study them using behavioral (cross-sectional and longitudinal), neuroimaging, and cross-cultural approaches. Current studies investigate executive function and bilingualism/biculturalism (Spanish-English; Korean-English), measurement tools for executive function in preschoolers, symbolic thought and conscious control of action, emotion regulation, neural correlates of decision-making, parenting and cultural influences on executive function and social understanding, children’s teaching ability as an index of social understanding, and the development of role-play and imaginary companions.
Professor Cicchetti's major research interests lie in the formulation of an integrative developmental theory that can account for both normal and abnormal forms of ontogenesis. His work has several foci: 1) developmental psychopathology; 2) the developmental consequences of child maltreatment; 3) neural plasticity and sensitive periods; 4) the impact of traumatic experiences upon brain development; 5) the biology and psychology of unipolar and bipolar mood disorders; 6) the interrelationships among molecular genetic, neurobiological, socio-emotional, cognitive, linguistic and representational development in normal and pathological populations; 7) the study of attachment relations and representational models of the self and its disorders across the life span; 8) multilevel perspectives on resilience; and 9) multilevel evaluations of Randomized Control Trial (RCT) interventions for depressed and maltreated children and adolescents.
W. Andrew Collins
Socialization, social cognition, family relations; also: Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (with Drs. Egeland and Sroufe)
Processes of change in peer and romantic relationships are the focus of my current research. In one line of work, we are conducting intensive interviews and observations with the participants in this project, who are now in their early twenties, and their romantic partners. In addition, we are studying autonomy in late adolescence and young adulthood in relation to competence measured in earlier developmental periods.
Byron Egeland, professor emeritus
Developmental psychopathology, abuse and maltreatment; also: Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (with Drs. Sroufe and Collins)
Together with my collaborators, I continue to conduct a longitudinal study of high-risk children and their families which began in 1975. The aims include identifying the antecedents and developmental pathways leading to behavior problems and psychopathology as well as competence and resilience. Gene by Environment analyses are included in the search for factors related to onset and desistance of disorder.
Jed T. Elison, ELAB
Developmental social neuroscience, structural brain development and social cognition, visual attention, joint attention, eye tracking, MRI, DWI, autism, and emerging psychopathology
My research examines basic developmental processes that contribute to individual differences in social communication during the infant and toddler period. What began as a focus on quantifying cognitive and behavioral measures in a manner that would be more amenable to examining brain-behavior associations during infancy has transformed into investigating dimensional constructs relevant to emerging psychopathology. Much of my work to date has focused on the identification of risk factors that differentiate infants who later develop autism from other infants.
Michael K. Georgieff, M.D.
Early nutrition and cognitive development
Our laboratory studies the effect of fetal and newborn nutrition on cognitive development. Late fetal and early newborn deficits in iron, protein, zinc and other nutrients seems to target the hippocampus, thus affecting short term memory functioning and long-term cognitive development. From a clinical research perspective, much of our research happens in the Center for Neurobehavioral Development, of which I am the Director, and on the Newborn Intensive Care Nursery.
Abigail Gewirtz, ADAPT (After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools), Ambit Network
Children's exposure to traumatic events, parenting, prevention research
Our research team focuses on the impact of exposure to violence on observed parenting practices and children's development, and on the implementation of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions in community settings.
Megan R. Gunnar, Human Developmental Psychobiology Lab
Social and biological aspects of development
Our research focuses on the emotional and social processes that regulate physiological responses to stressful events early in childhood. Much of my work involves a stress-sensitive neuroendrocine system, the adrenocortical system. Recently, I have begun to explore the impact of abuse and neglect on the development of neuroendocrine and autonomic responsivity. My students and I are particularly interested in following the development of international children adopted from institutional (orphanage) rearing environments.
Canan Karatekin, Child Wellbeing Research Group
Clinical child neuropsychology, information processing, working memory, attention, executive functions
Our lab is interested in investigating cognitive processes in children and adolescents with psychiatric and neurological disorders. This research can lead to a better understanding of the basic nature and normal development of the processes, the neurobiological bases and mechanisms of dysfunction in the disorders, as well as improved treatment options for the children and their families.
Melissa Koenig, Early Language and Experience Lab
Language acquisition, cognitive development, pragmatics and social cognition, word learning
Our research interests lie at the interface of social cognition and language development. Currently, my work focuses on the different kinds of information children use to determine the reliability of a message. I am also interested in young children’s developing understanding of mental states as expressed in communication as well as how they come to appreciate language as a conventional system.
Michael P. Maratsos
Theory and history of development
I am interested in historical and anthropological studies of development, with some particular interest in the importance of economic and technological factors in the societal construction of childhoods, and the reaction range of human nature in dealing with these. I am also interested in the ramifications for developmental theory, of the variability caused by such factors.
Ann S. Masten, Project Competence Research on Risk and Resilience
Developmental psychopathology, stress and coping, humor
With my research team, I study the processes that may account for the development of competence in risky environments, with a focus on the protective processes that help children overcome adversity or avoid the dangers that arise in ordinary life as well as the extraordinary situations of war and trauma.
Michele Mazzocco, Math and Numeracy Lab
Cognitive development in early to middle childhood; individual differences and development of numeracy and mathematical learning; lexical ambiguity; roots of academic integrity.
We focus primarily on the role of cognitive development and function on problem solving behaviors. Our current project involves identifying individual differences in the cognitive skills underlying mathematical achievement trajectories. We are particularly interested in the development of numeracy skills, how those and other cognitive skills interact to affect and predict long term mathematics achievement outcomes, and how pathways to mathematical learning differ across students progressing at very different achievement levels.
Anne D. Pick, professor emeritus
Perceptual development and cognitive processes
My research is concerned with perceptual learning during infancy and early childhood. I am particularly interested in how multisensory experiences guide or promote early perceptual learning. My colleagues and I are investigating the emergence of joint visual attention during infancy as well as preschool children’s categorization of objects and object representations (i.e., drawings or photographs). We are investigating the role of functional properties of objects and of exploratory activity in how children classify objects.
Arthur J. Reynolds
The focal point of my current work is as Director of the Chicago Longitudinal Study, one of the largest and most extensive studies of the effects of early childhood intervention. The project tracks the life-course development of 1,500 children who attended early childhood programs in inner-city Chicago. The main focus is on the effects of the Child-Parent Center program, a school-based intervention from preschool to the early school grades.
Glenn Roisman, Relationships Research Lab
My research focuses on the legacy of early relationship experiences as an organizing force in social, cognitive, and biological development across the lifespan. As such, my program of research focuses on the childhood antecedents of adaptation within the developmentally salient contexts of adolescence and adulthood. This work is multi-method and multi-informant, employing self-report, observational, psychophysiological, and interview-based methods with individuals and couples. In spanning multiple levels of a developmental analysis of individual and dyadic trajectories, my laboratory's goal is to provide insight into the childhood experiences and resources that scaffold healthy adjustment in the years of maturity.
Maria D. Sera, Language and Cognitive Development Laboratory
My research focuses on the relation between language and cognitive development. Current projects focus on the relation between developing knowledge of spatial constructions in ASL and developing mental rotation and perspective-taking skills, understanding the nature of grammatical gender effects on categorization, the relation between knowledge of classifiers in Chinese, Hmong, and Japanese and conceptual development, understanding the nature of differences between children and adults in their representation of object shapes, and the acquisition of English as a second language by native Spanish-speaking preschoolers.
L. Alan Sroufe, professor emeritus
Socioemotional development, developmental psychopathology, also: Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (with Drs. Egeland and Collins)
My research involves the complementary study of normal and abnormal development. The basic strategy of that research is to define the salient developmental issues for each period, then trace normative pathways and delineate developmental deviations. The research articulates a general model of development and psychopathology where behavior is seen as a joint product of past history and current circumstances The focus of my recent work is on adjustment in adolescence and the transition to adulthood.
Kathleen Thomas, Cognitive Development & Neuroimaging Lab
Cognitive development, implicit learning, pediatric neuroimaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging
Research in my laboratory explores the development and neurobiological correlates of nondeclarative or implicit learning during the preschool and school age periods. Our studies examine stimulus and response factors that constrain learning at different ages and relate these cognitive changes to ongoing brain development.
Albert Yonas, The Yonas Lab
Our work centers on how infants and preschool children come to perceive the visual world. It isolates the visual information that makes perception possible and explores when in development infants become sensitive to that information. The research has explored various cues to three-dimensional layout of the environment and more recently has investigated how shadows, transparency, and highlights are interpreted by infants.
My work focuses on instructional psychology — particularly reading, and the intersection of schooling and children’s development. Future work is planned on the development of children’s understanding of complex narratives, such as actual short stories, and children’s source of learning to understand selected literary features of the stories such as narrator voice and perspective, tone, and characterization.
Philip David Zelazo, The Carlson and Zelazo Lab
Developmental cognitive neuroscience
Our lab focuses on the study of the development and neural bases of executive function, or the conscious control of thought, action, and emotion. We use a variety of approaches, from experimental to cross-cultural to electrophysiological (EEG/ERP), to explore different theories of executive function including Cognitive Complexity & Control theory and the Levels of Consciousness model.