University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Jennifer Martin McDermott

Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Neuroscience and Behavior Program
Family Research Scholar, 2011-12



Jennifer McDermott’s research explores the role of early experience in relation to children’s cognitive and affective development. Her past work reveals that early adversity impairs physiological and behavioral indices of children’s self-regulation and that these effects can be partially ameliorated by improved caregiving conditions.

During her year as a Family Research Scholar, Dr. McDermott developed a grant proposal to unpack the effects of genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors on the emergence of children’s regulatory behaviors in a project entitled “Social and Biological influences on the Development of Children’s Self-Regulation.” This proposal took a critical step towards defining, at the molecular level, the complex interplay through which caregiving experience directs the organization of neural systems implicated in self-control and helped inform novel invention approaches aimed at promoting regulatory skills in children at risk.