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The @Heart lab is a multidisciplinary lab using a multilevel perspective to study the development of romantic relationships and adjustment. We combine longitudinal dyadic assessments with several direct observation methods, experimental methodologies, ecological momentary assessments, salivary biomarkers, heart rate variability and high-density array EEG neurocognitive assessments.
Drawing from developmental psychopathology and biopsychosocial theoretical frameworks, we utilize methods that incorporate self-report and physiological measures (ranging from hormone levels to sleep quality) in naturalistic settings using ecological momentary assessment. Our overarching goal is to understand how day-to-day experiences ranging from loneliness to coping behavior get under the skin to influence physical and mental health outcomes.
At the Child Emotion Center, researchers explore early biological and environmental risk and protective factors for later mental and physical health of children. Under the direction of the center's founder Professor Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant, graduate and undergraduate students use twin studies to understand how genes and environments work together to influence development. Our methods include measures from multiple levels of analysis, such as genetic, physiological, and behavioral— in order to better understand mechanisms of development and brain-behavior relationships. The overarching goal of the Child Emotion Center is to identify pathways to resilience, or the ability to bounce back from stress and adversity and thrive in life.
Dr. Pina studies factors responsible for the developmental course of anxiety in children and adolescents by using basic science approaches and developing interventions that test theoretical mechanisms implicated in child and family change. For more details about Dr. Pina's work and research, please visit his website at drarmandopina.org.
Conducted within a developmental psychopathology framework, research by our group revolves around the construct of resilience and positive youth development. Core questions of interest are: What are the processes that help some children do well in spite of diverse stressors in their lives? Across various spheres of development -psychological, emotional, interpersonal, and academic- how can children maximize their potentials and achieve competent, productive trajectories over time?
Under the guidance of Dr. Frank Infurna, the Healthy Aging and Life Events Lab’s mission is to examine resilience to major life stressors and psychosocial and work predictors of healthy aging in adulthood and old age. Health events and life transitions occur across adulthood and old age and we examine the role of these have for shaping the course of well-being and factors that assess why individuals exhibit differential patterns. Furthermore, we focus on examining whether and how psychosocial factors such as perceived control and job characteristics are associated with cognitive functioning, disability, disease, and mortality. To address our research questions, we apply contemporary methods of longitudinal analysis to longitudinal panel surveys.
In the Learning and Development Lab, we study how young children learn about the world around them. We specifically focus on questions like: How do young children learn the meanings of words? What properties of speech do babies process to learn language? How do children learn to pay attention to the right things in their busy environments? Does experience with multiple languages change how young children learn and develop?
The Science of Learning and Educational Technology (SoLET) Lab, directed by cogntive psychologist Dr. Danielle S. McNamara, is a research laboratory housed in the Institute for Science and Teaching of Learning at ASU.
The SoLET lab focuses on applying research from computer science, education, and psychology in educational environments. The research aims to further the understanding of cognitive processes and to use this theoretical foundation to improve educational methods.
Theory of Mind
The Theory of Mind Lab is working to solve a potentially serious, but overlooked, problem with the standard tasks used to assess young children's understanding of false beliefs. These same tasks have been used to study theory of mind in infants and chimpanzees. The problem is that a confound in the tasks makes the interpretation of correct answers ambiguous and obscures a developmentally intermediate way of reasoning about the mind. The resolution of this problem will have theoretical implications for how children's theory of mind develops and for how theory of mind has evolved, and practical implications for interventions with autistic individuals. Other theory of mind topics include young children’s early linguistic references to mental states, and school-age children’s and high schoolers’ understanding of the interpretative nature of mental processes and how that relates to their understanding of conflict and their aggressive behavior.
Father & Divorce Research and Social Policy
I am also interested in the impact of father-child relationships on the long-term physical and mental health of children, as part of our 10-year NIH-funded longitudinal study of the role of Anglo-American and Mexican-American fathers and stepfathers in adolescent and emerging adult development. I focus on the implications of this research for social policy for divorced fathers and children, and this has resulted in major reform of the Arizona child custody statutes. We are working to extend these reforms nationally and internationally.