Our research examines how environmental experiences influence emotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development throughout childhood and adolescence. The primary goal of this research is to understand how adverse early environments alter developmental processes in ways that increase risk for psychopathology. Our research aims to uncover specific developmental processes that are disrupted by adverse environmental experiences early in life and determines how those disruptions increase risk for mental health problems in children and adolescents. Understanding these mechanisms is critical for the development of interventions to prevent the onset of psychopathology in children who experience adversity.

We pursue these research questions using interdisciplinary methods drawn from clinical and developmental psychology, psychiatric epidemiology, psychophysiology, and cognitive neuroscience. This interdisciplinary approach is critical to understanding the complex relationships between social context, trajectories of child development, and mental health.

Our work on childhood adversity has been featured in NPR and The New York Times.  Click here to see Dr. Katie McLaughlin, Lab Director, discussing our research.