Research Interest Groups

Spring on Campus


HD faculty have created six research interest groups that serve to orient students to our educational curriculum and provide structure and collaboration for our instruction, research, and outreach.

Aging and Health

Faculty in Aging and Health promote healthy aging through both basic research and the translation of those scientific findings into evidence-based programs and interventions.  The program advances knowledge about the social, emotional, cognitive, and neuropsychological aspects of aging. Using a variety of methods, faculty conduct cutting-edge research on neuroimaging of emotion, preservation of memory, positivity and improvements in cardiovascular function, informal social networks and social isolation, caregiver support, language and communication in aging, resilience, and psychological well-being.

Cognitive Development
The study of cognition in infants, children, and adults and of cognitive development serves as a focal point for several faculty members' research programs. Research topics include attention, memory, intelligence, reasoning and decision-making, causal understanding, categorization, and language development. In addition, for several faculty members, research on cognition and cognitive development includes the recognition that cognition intersects with aspects of social and emotional development and also that it often varies across contexts. Faculty members rely on a set of diverse methodological approaches in their teaching and research.
Group Disparities in Development
Integrating social, cognitive, and developmental theories and using multiple methods, this interdisciplinary program aims to uncover basic underlying mechanisms that give rise to ethnic, socioeconomic, sexual, and cultural variations in developmental processes, functions, and outcomes. Current research focuses include learning and achievement, risky decision making, multilingualism, social cognition, memory, environmental stress, and mental health and resilience. The concentration encourages the study of diverse populations across and within cultures, including sexual minorities, immigrants, and underprivileged groups. Interventions are used as real-world experiments to illuminate these issues and tested as potential methods of understanding disparities. The policy implications and translations of such scientific inquiries are also a focus.
Human Neuroscience
The Human Neuroscience Program incorporates three neuroscience areas: cognitive, social, and affective-emotional processes.  It has a special focus on developmental disorders, including disorders of language and learning, perception and social behavior (including autism spectrum conditions), aging, social attachment, attention-motor processes (including ADHD), and temperament and personality. Faculty utilize a diverse array of methodologies: neurophysiological (EEG, ERP, fMRI), pharmacological activation of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, genetic polymorphisms, autonomic monitoring, and anthropometrics.


Law, Psychology and Human Development

The Program in Law, Psychology, and Human Development (LPHD) provides opportunities to study and conduct research in psychology, legal studies, and public policy, with faculty drawn from the fields of developmental psychology, social psychology, organizational behavior, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and law.  LPHD faculty are among the world's experts in such areas as suggestibility and false memory, child abuse and violence, death penalty mitigation, jury and judicial decision making, negotiation and stress, adolescent risky decision making, children's disclosures, legal policies, legal decision making about children, and decisions about children's competence to participate in the legal process. Faculty members rely on a set of diverse methodological approaches in their teaching and research, including mathematical modeling.  

Social and Personality Development

The social and personality group is represented by a number of faculty who explore the psychobiological and environmental foundation of personality traits, social bonding, identity development, sexual development, human mating and pair bonding, socio-emotional changes across the life course, decision making, self-regulation and attachment processes, social stressors for children and youth, child maltreatment, and the prevention of social and emotional problems. These topics are investigated at multiple levels of analyses (behavioral, cognitive, physiological, emotional), including the confluence of genetic, environmental, and epigenetic factors in the development of personality and social behavior. Faculty utilize a diverse array of methodologies, such as in-depth interviews, web-based surveys and diaries, cognitive-behavioral assessments, and neurophysiological methods (EEG, ERP, fMRI).