Why is it so hard for young children to avoiding eating that cookie that their mother asked them not to eat? Why do they sometimes say things that we have asked them not to share? How does this affect the way they interact with other children and how well they do in school?
My research is on early childhood executive function, those cognitive processes that help us to get through our everyday lives. One executive function that I’m particularly interested in is inhibitory control, the ability to hold back a response. Some children have strong inhibitory control—they can keep themselves from blurting out responses in a classroom, can refrain from playing with attractive toys when asked, and can sit still when they need to concentrate. Other children struggle a little more. I’m interested in what factors are important in helping children to develop inhibitory control as well as what happens to these children, the cookie-eaters and those who are able to wait, when they are placed in social or academic settings.
I love to include students, graduate and undergraduate, in my lab as research assistants. Students can become involved in ongoing research or can work with me on their own individual projects.
In the past students have conducted and presented research with me on: