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Developmental Psychology


Master of Science and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology

The Master of Science with a concentration in developmental psychology is a two-year terminal degree program in experimental methodology. The Ph.D. is a four-year program provided to prepare the candidate for an academic career in developmental psychology. This focus is to gain a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of developmental processes.

The concentration is aimed at developing the research skills necessary to pursue (MS) or complete (Ph.D.) doctoral training in developmental psychology. Faculty in the developmental concentration have varied, active research programs currently investigating several facets of developmental psychology including prosociality, attachment, age-related changes in language comprehension, theories of health, and theory of mind.

Faculty in the Developmental Psychology Concentration

Dr. Mary Lewis: I am a developmental psychologist with research interests in the following areas: 1) Investigating the interpersonal and relational correlates of adolescent prosocial behavior, including volunteerism and everyday prosocial behavior; 2) The nature and dynamics of parent and adolescent relationships with a particular emphasis on prosocial behavior; 3) The development of prosocial morality among adolescents; and 4) Side interest in attachment and parent separation anxiety from adolescents during the transition to college.

Dr. Deb McGinnis: Recently I published a series of articles examining age-related changes in language comprehension and reading with distraction, with an emphasis on neurological and educational predictors. Currently, I am conducting research on proverb comprehension and factors associated with proficient comprehension of proverbs.

Dr. Lakshmi Raman: My research focuses on children and adults' theories of health. One line of research examines the causal factors children and adults entertain in the manifestation of physical illnesses. A second line of research examines children's and adults' understanding of the impact of nutrition on health.

Dr. Jennifer Vonk: I am a comparative/cognitive psychologist with primary research interests in two overlapping areas: (1) animal cognition, and (2) cognitive development. The underlying goal of my work is to examine cognitive continuities and discontinuities between humans and both closely and distantly related species. Thus, my work focuses on examining both phylogenetic and ontogenetic origins of cognitive processes that may or may not be shared with humans. Current work centers on social cognition, such as theory of mind, co-operation, prosociality, and reasoning about emotions, as well as physical cognition, such as causal reasoning, analogical reasoning, numerosity, and natural concept formation. Recent work with humans is focused on examining the effects of religiosity, attachment, and perspective-taking on human decision-making processes.