Developmental Program

The Developmental Program of the Psychology Department at the University of Miami focuses on understanding children's growth over time. Developmental faculty members have strong research programs investigating affect, attention, cognition, language, social interaction, school readiness, and early science education.


  • The Developmental Psychology Program trains doctoral students for productive careers in research and teaching.
  • The program provides a solid foundation in developmental science and the real-world application of research findings.
  • All students gain experience in teaching an undergraduate psychology course.


  • Research includes the neuroimaging of anxiety disorders, automated measurement of social interaction, and behavioral interventions in Head Start classrooms.
  • Our developmental studies often include bilingual children, children from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, children with developmental delays and clinical disorders, as well as typically developing children.
  • Research facilities include the Linda Ray Intervention Center and the research-dedicated Neuroimaging Facility.


  • Supportive mentoring relationships with individual faculty members are the keystone of our program.
  • Brown bag meetings provide students and faculty with opportunities to discuss developmental science research and professional growth.
  • Faculty are well-funded by grants from public and private agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Head Start, Autism Speaks, and the Institute of Education Sciences.


  • Students in our graduate program typically receive full tuition remission and a research assistantship stipend.
  • The program has a strong track record of assisting students in obtaining highly competitive graduate fellowships that support professional development.
  • Student offices are located in the Department's Flipse Building, which houses the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and contains classroom and laboratory space.

Faculty Members

Jennifer C. Britton, Ph.D., Associate Professor, is a neuroscientist whose work focuses on understanding the intersection of anxiety, development and treatment.

  • Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders (e.g., approach-avoidance, threat processing)
  • Developmental and neural correlates of emotional flexibility
  • Translational neuroscience research (e.g., fear and extinction learning, attention bias modification)

Daryl B. Greenfield, Ph.D., Professor, conducts collaborative research to better understand the development of scientific thinking in early childhood, focusing on low-income minority children.

  • Development of scientific thinking in early childhood
  • STEM as foundational focus for school readiness
  • Technology in early childhood assessment

Daniel Messinger, Ph.D., Professor, investigates emotion and early interaction (e.g., attachment) to better understand healthy and disturbed (e.g., autistic) development.

  • Measuring and modeling emotional, social, and language development
  • Risk factors including poverty
  • Communication disorders, with a focus on autism

Lynn K. Perry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, investigates children’s word learning and categorization, and the impact of language on cognition.

  • Language development
  • Categorization and learning
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation

Rebecca Bulotsky Shearer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, conducts partnership-based research with early childhood programs to promote social-emotional skills, early learning, and school readiness.

  • Preschool social-emotional adjustment
  • School readiness and early school achievement
  • Classroom interventions

Elizabeth A. Simpson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, studies infant social cognitive development by examining individual differences in social perception in humans and nonhuman primates.

  • Evolutionary developmental psychology
  • Face perception & imitation
  • Eye-tracking

Associated Faculty 

Michael Alessandri, Ph.D., Clinical Professor, is Executive Director of the UM Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD).

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Early autism screening and intervention
  • School-based interventions
  • Family adaptation and coping

Christine E. Delgado, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, is the Director of the Children's Registry and Information System.

  • Developmental disabilities
  • Early risk factors

Lynne F. Katz, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, is the Director of the University's Linda Ray Intervention Center for high risk children.

  • Prenatal drug exposure impact
  • Child maltreatment risks
  • Parenting interventions for high-risk families

Lucina Uddin, Ph.D., Associate Professor, investigates the relationship between brain connectivity and cognition in typical development and autism.

  • Brain network dynamics
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neuroscience of attention and social cognition