Developmental Psychology

Section 1

Developmental Division

Program Description

The Developmental Division represents interests in two major areas of development. Faculty and students focusing on the area of cognitive and linguistic development conduct research exploring infant cognition, conceptual development, language acquisition, and the development of symbolic competence. The research programs in the area of emotional, personality, and social development are also diverse in terms of their focus. The major strengths are parenting, attachment, emotional development, temperament, developmental psychopathology, achievement, peer relations, and the self. In both areas, there is a concern with the role of culture in children's development.

Regardless of area, faculty and students in the Developmental Division focus on how children change as they progress from earliest infancy through adulthood. Of particular importance are the causes of developmental change. Developmental faculty and students examine both how basic processes of learning and development enable children to develop fundamental adult abilities and the factors that lead children to follow unique trajectories as they make their way through life. The focus of these research programs benefits from interactions with faculty in other divisions of the Psychology Department as well as other departments on campus.


One of the primary goals of the Developmental Division's graduate program is to train students to become independent researchers and educators. Graduate students receive their training through research, coursework, and teaching. Empirical research is a fundamental theme of the division. Within this framework, however, students may elect to concentrate on basic or applied problems, in laboratory or naturalistic settings. Graduate students may select from a wide range of course offerings. These include several core courses that lay the basic theoretical foundations of the discipline, as well as a strong statistics sequence. Students with a particular interest in statistics have the option of receiving a minor in this area. Minors in other areas, such as Cognitive Psychology or Social Psychology, are also available. In addition, the Developmental Division offers a number of advanced graduate seminars custom-tailored to meet current faculty and student interests. There is also a weekly research seminar attended by all division members.

Facilities and Resources

Outstanding research facilities are available to our students, including seven large developmental laboratories in the Psychology Building and a University of Illinois Child Development Laboratory Preschool with additional research space. Relations with local schools facilitate off-campus research. All students have access to a vast array of state of the art technologies as well as a high end computing environment.

Affiliated Departments, Programs and Institutes

The Developmental Division is situated in a larger community of scholars who make important contributions to our students' education and professional development. The Psychology Department has strong programs in Cognition, Language, Vision, Clinical, and Social-Personality. There are a number of other departments on the University of Illinois campus that include faculty concerned with children's development as well as adult language and cognitive processes. In particular, the departments of Human and Community Development and Educational Psychology house a large number of research programs focused on children's development. Cross-cultural research opportunities are also available in China and Taiwan as well as other places.

Developmental Division Faculty

Renee Baillargeon, Alumni Distinguished Professor

Renee Baillargeon

Infant cognition, including physical, psychological, and biological reasoning; and a wide range of related infancy issues, including object perception, categorization, object individuation, number, perspective-taking, and theory of mind.

Office: Room 613 | (217) 333-5557 |

Andrei Cimpian, Associate Professor

Andrei Cimpian

Cognitive development; generic language; the influence of language on children's thinking and motivation; naive essentialism; word learning.

Office: Room 615 | (217) 333-0852 |

Cynthia Fisher, Professor

Cynthia Fisher

First language acquisition; psycholinguistics; phonological learning; syntax and word learning.

Office: Room 619 | (217) 333-3545 |

Daniel C. Hyde, Assistant Professor

Daniel Hyde

Numerical, spatial, and social cognitive development in infants,children, and adults using brain (EEG,ERP,fNIRS) and behavioral measures.

Office: Room 621 | (217) 333-0631 |

Eva Pomerantz, Professor

Eva Pomerantz

The development of children's motivational and emotional functioning. Major focus on the role of parents in such development, with an emphasis on the influence of culture.

Office: Room 611 | (217) 244-2538 |

Karen D. Rudolph, Professor

Karen D. Rudolph

Antecedents and consequences of anxiety and depression during childhood and adolescence, specifically how children's characteristics and environments interact to heighten vulnerability to psychopathology.

Office: Room 617 | (217) 333-8624 |

Lisa L. Travis, Lecturer

Lisa L. Travis

Office: Room 627 | 333-8086 |


Associated Faculty

Peggy J. Miller, Professor Emeritus

Peggy J. Miller

I am interested in socialization and the acquisition of culture in early childhood, with an emphasis on the role that everyday talk plays in these processes.



Facilities Information

All-Gender ADA Accessible Restroom

The Psychology Department is very pleased to announce that an all-gender, ADA accessible, family-friendly restroom has been built on the first floor next to the elevators. The department partnered with F&S to construct this new restroom, which is now available to use. Please note that there is an indicator on the door showing whether the restroom is available or in use. Be sure to lock the door while using the restroom, and unlock the door before leaving.