Early Pathways to Competence
Pamela Cole, Professor of Psychology
The goal of the Early Pathways to Competence initiative is to advance knowledge of typical and atypical developmental processes related to competence and mental health in the first five years of life. The initiative’s research emphasizes the study of developmental processes across domains of functioning, at both biological and behavioral levels, and within specific family, cultural, and societal contexts. The faculty is keenly interested in multi-level and transactional influences on development, and in exploring developmental processes with intensive longitudinal assessments. Central research interests include the nature of self- and mutual regulation, such as how children influence their parents’ socialization efforts, how emotional functioning influences self-regulated eating, and how early sleep patterns influence child attention and emotion regulation. In addition, participants are interested in tracking links between motor, language, attention, executive, social cognitive, emotional and interpersonal functioning and how together these influence behavioral outcomes relevant to child mental health and competence (e.g., how language influences emotion regulation in early childhood, how crawling and walking influence socioemotional functioning.) A third area of research focus involves modeling family processes associated with the development of child competence, particularly in the context of family stress and socioeconomic disadvantage, including how genetic risk influences child outcomes and how parenting moderates those effects, as well as how dyadic and triadic processes influence children’s individual development. Finally, many initiative faculty members are interested in children who are at risk for or already developing significant problems, including attention deficit, anxiety, autism spectrum, oppositional defiant and conduct, communication, and mood disorders.
For more information about this research initiative, please contact Pamela Cole.