Dr. Vanessa LoBue has a keen interest in emotional development, and the effects of emotion and experience on perception and learning. She is the Lab Director at the Child Study Center at Rutgers University that conducts studies on the emotional, cognitive, and perceptual development of infants and children. In a current study, Dr. LoBue has been following a group of children from the age of four months to their current ages of three years old. The goal is to follow the same group of children as they continue to grow and develop.
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Ongoing research at the Child Study Center explores the behavioral responses to negative or threatening stimuli. Dr. LoBue has been working on studies that focus on infants and their responses to the environment surrounding them. Infants take cues from their primary caregiver and research has demonstrated that they are able to quickly perceive the presence of threatening stimuli in infancy.
One of the goals of a current study is to use the data from previous research in conjunction with new data to identify responses to threatening stimuli. Of particular interest is whether early perceptual biases for threat contribute to inadequately developed avoidance behaviors associated with anxiety.
Researchers hope to learn about biases that infants develop in the first months after birth. One aspect of the study is the role of temperament in the development of biases for threatening behaviors. What are the differences in response to a perceived threat between more sensitive infants and babies who tend to be more social? What are the stress factors? How does an anxious mother influence the emotional wellbeing of her baby? The search for the answers to these and other questions motivates the research of Dr. LoBue and her associates
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