Andrew N. Meltzoff, Ph.D. - About the Lab

Professor and Co-Director

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Dr. Meltzoff's Infant and Child Studies Lab conducts interdisciplinary research on developmental science ranging from newborns through elementary-school children and teenagers. His lab chiefly explores how children learn from and about people – the development of social cognition. One central line of work in the lab investigates powerful social learning mechanisms, such as imitative learning and joint attention. This has led to an expanding range of collaborative studies on (i) the development of theory of mind, (ii) how sociocultural factors influence the expression of altruistic behavior in human infants, (iii) cognitive neuroscience studies (MEG/EEG) on infant neural body maps and fMRI work on human empathy, and (iv) experiments using social robots with children to test theories of social cognition. Meltzoff's lab is also testing theoretical connections between developmental psychology and social psychology. This line of work explores: (i) how cultural stereotypes (e.g., math-gender stereotypes) influence children's implicit and explicit self-concepts, (ii) the formation of in-group favoritism based on gender, race, and randomly assigned (minimal) groups, and (iii) how preschoolers acquire social biases and prejudices based on observational learning of adults. Meltzoff and collaborators have also published key studies on language and thought, atypical development (including work on ASD, Deaf, Down's syndrome), and cross-cultural studies comparing children across cultures to test theory, including East Asian cultures (China, Singapore) and Hispanic cultures (Spain, Chile).

Lab Members

Rodolfo Cortes Barragan

Rodolfo Barragan is a postdoctoral fellow working with Meltzoff. Barragan's research examines the origins and development of altruism in human infants. He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University, where he worked with Dr. Carol Dweck. In conducting his research program, Dr. Barragan seeks to develop paradigms to (i) assess infant prosocial and altruistic behavior, (ii) examine shared commonalities and differences between infants and non-human primates, and (iii) identify the sociocultural experiences that enhance the expression of altruism in humans.

Rechele Brooks

Rechele Brooks is a Research Scientist and studies infant joint visual attention. Dr. Brooks' main line of research centers on joint visual attention, including gaze following, joint engagement, and pointing. She examines the development of these important social behaviors in infancy and the attributions infants make about others' perceptions and goals based on these behaviors. She has also published papers on how early social cognition contributes to the understanding of language and theory of mind in children with typical and atypical development, including Deaf children and children with autism spectrum disorder.

Áine Ní Choisdealbha

Dr. Ní Choisdealbha is a visiting scientist working with Dr. Andrew Meltzoff. Her background is in infant EEG and eye-tracking. Her work focuses on the how infants gain motor skills, and how these new skills affect action perception, spatial cognition, and the development of a body schema.

Dario Cvencek

Dario Cvencek is a Research Scientist working with Meltzoff to integrate developmental and social psychology. He earned a Ph.D. working with social psychologist, Tony Greenwald. Dr. Cvencek's current research focuses on the development of children's gender stereotypes about math, in-group attitudes, and self-esteem using implicit and explicit measures. He also considers how social-cognitive development in children may be propelled by a tendency of the human mind to keep one's cognitions consistent with one another.

Ashley Drew

Ashley Drew is a postdoctoral fellow working on the neural representation of the body in infants. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology working with Professor Peter Marshall, an EEG expert at Temple University. Her dissertation focused on interpersonal visual-tactile influences on sensorimotor EEG measures in infants and adults. Drew's current research interests include using both EEG and MEG methods to investigate somatosensory processing in infants and links between the development of somatosensation and early social cognition.

Calle Fisher

Calle Fisher earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Oregon where she worked on projects with Prof. Mary Rothbart. She has administered a wide range of developmental tests including standardized testing and novel lab protocols.. Her area of expertise is behavioral coding from video-records of infant and child behavior and she has been certified on a number of coding systems including Ekman's FACS and the BabyFACS systems.

Craig Harris

Craig Harris has achieved a Master's degree in Education and oversees research on infant development, including studies on imitation, intention, and memory. Harris also has special expertise in statistical analyses having completed workshops and classes in biostatistics with Jim Sackett, and he is a guru on multiple statistical packages.

Dawn Hathaway

Dawn Hathaway received her bachelor of arts degree in English and previously worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is an enthusiastic and energetic recruiter and scheduler of research subjects and also performs other lab-related duties with aplomb.

Craig Maddox

Craig Maddox is a utility player in the lab, bringing his undergraduate training in mathematics, physics, and education to bear as a Research Assistant. Craig is the primary tester of children in a variety of cognitive studies, and is skilled at gathering, recording, and organizing experimental data. Much of this research, including the investigation of math-gender stereotypes, is closely related to his teaching background and personal interests. He works with Dario Cvencek on questions of implicit cognition in young children and is expanding his testing to include children in museum settings and schools..

Grace Mak

Grace Mak is a jack of all trades and assists on many aspects of running the lab. She scores infant and child behavior from video-recordings, and also helps to recruit participants into the experiments, checks spreadsheets for accuracy, and is a proof-reader and bibliography checker without equal.

Makeda Mayes

Makeda Mayes is a research assistant working with Meltzoff and Cvencek on the development of stereotypes, identity, and implicit bias in children. She is also doing a special project on the impact of COVID-19 on children's psychological development. She enjoys working with children over Zoom while conducting experiments at a distance in this new research environment.

Current Locations of Former Students/Trainees

Jennifer Amsterlaw, Ph.D.
  Sr. User Researcher, Amazon Kids and Family Digital, Seattle, Washington
Christina M Atance, Ph.D.
  Professor, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
Daniel M Bernstein, Ph.D.
  Canada Research Chair, Psychology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia, Canada
Rechele Brooks, Ph.D.
  Research Scientist, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Leslie J. Carver, Ph.D.
  Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, California
Elizabeth Hanna, Ph.D.
  Principal, Hanna Research & Consulting, LLC, Seattle, Washington
Allison Master, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences, University of Houston,
  Houston, Texas
Henrike Moll, Ph.D.
  Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor, School of Creative Arts Therapies, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Leoandra Onnie Rogers, Ph.D.
  Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Maya L. Rosen, Ph.D.
 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
Joni N. Saby, Ph.D.
  Research Scientist, Department of Radiology, Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Allison Skinner, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anna Waismeyer, Ph.D.
  User Experience Researcher, Microsoft, Seattle, Washington
Rebecca A. Williamson, Ph.D.
  Former Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
Elizabeth Zack, Ph.D.
  Outreach specialist, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA