Area Director: Dan Lapsley


Developmental psychology at Notre Dame is dedicated to the science of understanding human development across the lifespan.  Faculty research focuses on the domains of cognitive development, socioemotional development, and developmental psychopathology, as well as the transactions between ecological contexts and development.  This multi-level approach, which includes each of these domains and contexts, is essential for a comprehensive understanding of developmental continuity and change.  In addition, several faculty are engaged in translational research which applies basic developmental research findings into evidence-based programs such as clinical interventions and educational practice.

Doctoral candidates in the developmental area study development of individuals and families, and how the two interrelate.  Unique components of our Developmental psychology graduate program include our emphases on lifespan development, the examination of typical as well as atypical development, and the translation of basic research into applied settings.

Developmental psychology research centers, areas of research, and associated faculty are summarized below.

Research Centers

Learn more about our primary research centers by following the links below:

Shaw Center for Children and Families

Institute for Educational Initiatives

Research Areas

Cognitive Development:

McNeil: mathematical cognition

Valentino: development of autobiographical memory 


Socioemotional Development:

Gondoli: adolescent development, parenting processes

Lapsley: moral development 

Narvaez: moral development, parenting, virtue

Valentino: emotion regulation, self development, representational models


Developmental Psychopathology:

Bergeman: stress, resilience, health and well-being, aging

Cummings:  emotional security, family conflict and emotional adjustment

Gondoli: parenting and ADHD 

Valentino: development of maltreated children, mother-child interactions


Biological Development

Bergeman: stress, health and well-being

Cummings: family stress and physiology

Valentino: stress and mother-child physiology, metabolic risk, health


Contexts of Development:

Cummings: parenting/conflict, family

Gondoli: parenting, family

McNeil: home and school

Narvaez: parenting, family

Valentino: poverty, child maltreatment, parenting


Translational Research:

Cummings: interventions to improve emotional security (typical development and families with developmental disabilities)

Gondoli: interventions to improve parenting among families with ADHD, externalizing behavior, eating disorders

McNeil: learning materials and activities that enhance children’s understanding of mathematics and mathematics achievement

Valentino: interventions to improve emotional support among maltreating families and prevent maltreatment

Learn More