Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Education & Training
Ph.D., Columbia University 1968
My research focuses upon delineating processes of developmental change, creating explanatory models of how biological, behavioral, and social-cultural factors act together in development, and detailing how developing organism's own modes of functioning shape their subsequent paths of development. I address these issues mainly through the study of how human newborns become transformed into three-year-olds who have mastered several of the basic forms of cooperative action valued within their culture (e.g., social games, verbal conversations, cooperative problem-solving). Four interrelated lines of inquiry are ongoing. The first relates differences among very-prematurely-born infants in early central nervous system development to their paths of social-communicative development over the first two years of life. The second uses classical eyeblink conditioning paradigms to better characterize the behavioral differences between preterm and full-term infants in terms of cognitive, attentional, and arousal processes. The third asks whether the pivotal roles of imitative behavior in the early communicative development of USA toddlers also occur for the Seltaman toddlers of Papua New Guinea. The fourth details children's communicative and memory skills and the social experiences that facilitate their transition from being effective communicators about present events to their becoming effective communicators about past events.