Projects

Development of Cognitive Control Strategy Use

Throughout the first decade of life, children become increasingly adept at planning ahead for and complete goals. The ability to manage activational and motivational resources in order to complete a goal is known as Cognitive Control. The Development of Cognitive Control Project aims to understand why children elect to use different cognitive control strategies to prepare for the same goal. To better understand the use of cognitive control strategies, I examine behavioral performance, brain activity (EEG), and executive functioning (a grouping of cognitive skills utilized in goal completion).

Core PI: Sonya Troller-Renfree

The Bucharest Early Intervention Project

Bucharest Early Intervention Project (B.E.I.P.): Infants and young children raised in institutions are deprived of typical social and emotional stimulation and interaction as well as typical cognitive and language stimulation during infancy and early childhood. This places them at risk for a number of social and behavioral abnormalities such as disturbances of attachment, inattention/hyperactivity, externalizing behavior problems, and a syndrome that mimics autism. With funding from the John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation, investigators at Boston Children's Hospital (Professor Charles Nelson), University of Maryland (Professor Nathan Fox), and Tulane University (Professor Charles Zeanah) began studying the effects of a foster care intervention in institutionalized children in Bucharest, Romania. This project is the first random control intervention trial with institutionalized infants and children. We have followed two groups of young children through their 16th year of age. Half of these children were placed into foster care under our study’s supervision, while half remained in the institution. Over the course of the study, we are charting the effects of early deprivation as well as the consequences of early intervention on children’s cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development. This study is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Program Project MH56193. You can learn more about this study here.

Core PIs: Nathan A. Fox, Charles A. Nelson, Charles H. Zeanah

Baby's First Years: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Poverty Reduction

For more information see the study website here.

See an article about this study by The Economist here.

In response to the growing body of research examining the effects of socioeconomic disparities on cognitive development, Baby's First Years is the first randomized experiment testing causal connections between poverty reduction and brain development among very young children.

Funding: NICHD (R01HD087384-01) and a consortium of private funders.

Core PIs: Drs. Kimberly Noble, Greg Duncan, Katherine Magnuson, Lisa Gennetian, Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Co-Investigators and Consultants: Drs.Nathan Fox, Bill Fifer, Joseph Isler, Michael Georgieff, Dennis Molfese, Victoria Molfese, Tim Nelson, Jen Nelson, Charley Zeanah, Connie Lamm, Charles Nelson

Temperament Over Time

Temperament Over Time Study (T.O.T.S.): This project is a large longitudinal study investigating the individual and environmental factors associated with social development from infancy through childhood. Some of our participants have been involved in the study since they were four months old, others since they were two years old. We are currently seeing these participants for the 15-year visit! A BIG thank you goes out to all of the families that have helped make this project possible over the years!

Funding: NICHD (R01HD087384-01) and a consortium of private funders.

Core PIs: Nathan A. Fox, Heather H. Henderson, Daniel S. Pine

Babble

Recent findings have demonstrated SES disparities in language and memory development emerging by 15 months (Noble et al., 2015, Developmental Psychobiology) and a significant role of the home environment as early as 9 months (Melvin et al., 2016, Infancy). To explore these findings further, we are examining the ways in which early experiences such as home language environment, parent-child interactions, and parent stress impact language, memory, and brain development in 6-12-month-old infants. This project is funded by Teachers College, Columbia University, the Russell Sage Foundation and the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University. For more information, visit the NEED Lab Website here.

Core PI: Kimberly G. Noble