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In the Learning Lab we study how children develop self-regulation, which reflects a child's ability to control their behavior and emotions. Self-regulation helps with sitting calmly and paying attention in school, playing with peers, and planning future activities. The growth of regulatory skills in early childhood also has long-term implications for adaptive functioning later in life.​

We are particularly interested in how kids learn to 'tune in' to cues that signal the need to self-regulate, and what factors assist them in this process. Our work explores how different experiences and contents can influence the emergence and use of self-regulatory skills at different points in development.


Our studies typically assess child behavior and emotion, as well as caregiver perspectives, and sometimes include assessment of brain activity underlying self-regulation skills (via EEG - electroencephalogram). Most visits take place in our lab on the UMass Amherst campus, however we have recently begun a virtual study in which we engage with children and families via Zoom.


For questions about current Learning Lab studies contact:​​​​​




Recent News 


May - Hip hip hooray for our wonderful graduating seniors! Molly Gedney, Leila Stella, Pallavi Karra, Jerry Ducasse, & Julian Esmer - wishing you all the best!

April - Wonderful presentations by Samantha Baldacci, Julian Esmer, Jerry Ducasse & Conor Johnston at the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference and the UMass Social and Behavioral Sciences Poster Presentations.

March - Congratulations to Pallavi Karra who will be attending Boston College in the fall for her MA in Mental Health Counseling and to Julian Esmer who was accepted to the post-bac fellowship program at McLean Hospital in Boston! Additional congrats to Learning Lab Alum, Beatrice Ojuri, who will be attending the Clinical doctoral program at the University of Minnesota in the fall!

February - Congratulations to doctoral student Christina Hogan who is headed to UC Davis for her Clinical Internship!


December - Congratulations to junior Samantha Baldacci, who was awarded a Honors College Spring RA Fellowship!

September - Welcome to our new undergraduate RAs (Julian, Molly, Evan, & Leila) - so glad to have you join the team!​

August - Welcome to our new Clinical graduate student, Erica Ferrara

June - Congratulations to former Learning Lab UG Alum, Emmy Reilly, who successfully defended her dissertation at University of Minnesota in the Developmental Psychology program. Congratulations Dr. Reilly and best wishes as you start your post-doc at Duke!​

May - Congratulations to senior Elizabeth Noronha, on acceptance to the UMass Boston graduate program in School Psychology! ​​


December - Congratulations to our Developmental Science graduate student, Tori Vizzini, on a successful masters project proposal!​

October - Congratulations to clinical graduate student, Christina Hogan, on a successful dissertation project proposal!

May - Senior Beatice OJuri wins the Psychological & Brain Sciences Research Assistant Appreciation Award. Congratulations Bea!​

Graduate student Christina Hogan successfully completed her clinical Comprehensive Case Presentation - nice work Christina!​

Senior Jah'inaya Parker (COE affiliate) wins the Spring Rising Researcher Award. Way to go Jah!​

April - Meghan Sepich, Beatrice Ojuri, and Jahinaya Parker present at the Mass Undergrad Research Conference (MURC) - way to go seniors!​

Former Learning Lab graduate student, Dr. Abby Helm, gets her paper on children's use of ipads accepted for publication - great job Abby!​

March - Graduate Student Adaeze Egwuatu successfully defends her dissertation - way to go Dr. Egwuatu!​ 

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