Over the past two decades, I have studied social judgments and decision making in early to late childhood (i.e., 3- to 12-year-olds). My program of research has revealed a positivity bias in children's judgments of self and others that peaks in middle childhood and that has implications in diverse areas of social and cognitive functioning (e.g., learning, safety, critical thinking). My research has been published in the top outlets in my field and it has been supported the National Institutes of Health.
Recent research interests center on body image and body perceptions in childhood, with projects that examine the relation between nutrition, body size, and activity, and children's perceptions of muscularity. Together with co-author Dr. Ashleigh Gallagher, I am also writing a book (under contract) on body image development in early to late childhood, with an emphasis on how mother-daughter transactions shape girls' body image. I also enjoy writing about health and wellness; these are topics that I have covered in two decades of teaching about human development across the lifespan at the university level.