Infant-Caregiver Project (ICP)
This project (also the namesake of the lab) of Dr. Mary Dozier at the University of Delaware studies the short- and long-term impacts of the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) intervention. Ongoing data collection involves lab visits with families 8, 9, and 10 years after receiving ABC or a control intervention, as well as matched comparison families recruited recently.
I am interested in using behavioral and neurophysiological methodology to study the impact of adversity on child development and the parent-child relationship. My current role on the research team involves collecting event-related potential (ERP) and autonomic nervous system (ANS) data with high-risk and comparison school-age children and their primary caregivers.
Parents and Children Together (PACT)
This project is a collaboration between Villanova University, Rutgers University-Camden, and University of Delaware. PACT is a longitudinal study investigating the effect of parenting programs on family well being for families experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. Families are recruited at our community partner sites around the city, and are interviewed on site as well as in the community at follow up. Data include measures of history of adversity, parent mental health, child development, parenting and parent-child relationship.
As a student leader, I conduct interviews with families including the Brigance developmental screener, two LabTAB temperament tasks, and several validated questionnaires. I also develop and maintain relationships with the PACT community partners, schedule and train research assistants, and aid in data processing and project management.
My thesis project is investigating the role of social support and maternal internalizing symptoms in the relationship between maternal history of adversity and responsiveness in the parent-child relationship. I am particularly interested in the intergenerational transmission of pathology.
Frequency Specificity of the Auditory Response (WRAP Lab)
The auditory brainstem response (ABR) refers to the brain’s electrical activity very early in auditory processing – within the first 50 milliseconds of the presentation of a sound. We measure the ABR and other electrical activity using the event-related potential (ERP) technique, in which we attach non-invasive electrodes to the head. Recording of the ABR is used in clinical settings to help diagnose broad hearing loss in infants and other populations, but basic research has failed to comprehensively explain how the ABR changes in response to various frequencies and intensities. A more nuanced understanding of how the ABR changes in response to different frequencies would not only fill a large gap in basic research, but could also lead to the use of the ABR as a more sensitive diagnostic tool.
We are currently using the ERP technique to look for frequency-specific differences in both subcortical (ABR) and cortical (e.g. auditory N100) responses to pure tones. We extend prior research by presenting more frequencies and by including several intensities. This will allow for a better understanding of how the electrical activity of the brain may represent fine-grained changes in stimulus frequency, and it will help us understand what information is captured by different components of the ERP response. By considering both the ABR and the N100 in response to the same sound, we can better understand if and to what degree frequency information is captured and retained throughout early processing. This frequency information may even be used down the line in higher-level speech perception.
Future studies will introduce attention to understand what effect it might have on the ABR. As the ABR occurs extremely early in processing, finding an effect of attention would have implications for our current understanding of the role and mechanism of attention in sensory processing.