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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Human Development

Interdisciplinary research on origins of behavior

Parents with an infant.Funded by grant from the National Science Foundation, scientists in WSU’s Department of Psychology and Department of Human Development are launching a four-year study of babies’ emotional reactions and responses, seeking a greater understanding of how humans develop safe and unsafe behaviors.

Researchers will study infants’ approach and avoidance behaviors, to understand how they develop in emerging brain » More …

Where you live may influence your baby’s behavior

Babies lying down.Infants from rural families tend to display negative emotions such as anger and frustration more frequently than their urban counterparts, according to a recent study in the Journal of Community Psychology.

Babies born in big cities, on the other hand, typically are less fussy and not as bothered by limits set by their caregivers.

The study, led by WSU psychologist Maria Gartstein and » More …

Dr. Universe: Do babies have ways of communicating?

Dr. UniverseHumans come into the world crying, but that’s actually a good thing. In a way, babies start communicating from the moment they are born. Of course, it can be hard for their caregivers to know exactly what they mean with all those cries.

I learned a lot about how babies use emotion to communicate from my friend Masha Gartstein, a professor of psychology at Washington State University. She told me that crying is just one way babies communicate. After two or three months, babies » More …

Inside Outside

<em>Group of children at summer camp running through a woodland area with their guide/teacher walking behind them.</em>Biophilia, our innate affinity for and connection to nature, is not only for children—parents, too, are taking time from hectic schedules to unwind with meditative forest bathing, and many doctors now prescribe visits to the park instead of pills.

Getting kids outside is nothing new to Jeff Sanders, WSU associate professor and environmental historian. He says the idea of a nature deficit goes back at least 150 years to the Industrial Revolution, when many Americans left rural areas for work in Chicago or New York along with » More …