HomeSign-upWhat's InvolvedMeet the ResearchersDirectionsRestricted


Meet the Researchers

Simona Ghetti

Phone:  530.752.3370
Office: 102K Young Hall


Gail Goodman, Ph.D

Phone:  530.752.6981
Office: 152 Young Hall

Dr. Goodman investigates cognitive and emotional development, and children's abilities and experiences as victim/witnesses. She also studies the effects of child maltreatment on cognition and emotional adjustment. Her studies have been cited in U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Research in her laboratory covers a wide age range, spanning infancy to adulthood. She conducts research with typically developing children, as well as children representative of special populations. Her ultimate goals are to help children and the societal systems that serve them, and to understand the development of children’s mental health and cognitive abilities.

Kristin Lagatutta, Ph.D.

Phone:  530.754.9438
Office: 174L Young Hall

Dr. Lagattuta's research focuses on the development of young children's knowledge about people in terms of their inner, mental lives—what a person desires, intends, believes, thinks about, and feels emotionally. How and when do children form a “theory of mind,” or a psychological understanding of themselves and other people? In a series of studies, Dr. Lagattuta has been investigating developmental changes in children's (3- to 8-year-olds') understanding of connections between the mind and emotions. Results of her research show that children develop numerous sophisticated insights about mental causes of emotions during the preschool and early grade-school years. That is, young children appreciate that emotions can be caused by remembering or being reminded about past emotional experiences, and by thinking about what might happen in the future. Additional studies examine children's causal knowledge about emotions following willpower and transgression decisions (links between psychological and moral reasoning), differences in children's understanding of negative versus positive emotions, developmental changes in parent-child talk about emotions and mental states, children's understanding of the sources of worries and fears, and children's awareness of individual differences in emotion reactions.

Susan Rivera, Ph.D.

Phone:  530.754.9447
Office: 174K Young Hall

In Dr. Rivera's Neurocognitive Development Lab, research is being conducted with children as young as 5 months, and as old as 17 years of age. We are interested in the way that thinking and reasoning develops, and we use a number of different techniques to answer this question. For example, we may show an infant objects disappearing and reappearing, and measure the infant’s eye movements to different scenes, in order to determine what the infant might be thinking about them. For an older child, we may ask the child to solve a reasoning problem and observe the methods and strategies the child uses to arrive at an answer, or we may take a picture of the child’s brain (using an MRI machine) while the child calculates mental arithmetic problems. In addition to our work with typically developing children, we also conduct research with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and Fragile X Syndrome.

Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson, Ph.D.

Phone:  530.754.6663
Office: 279 Young Hall

My research focuses on parent-child relationships and their influence on young children's emotional understanding, conscience development, and growth of a sense of self. We like to observe parents with their children: playing, talking together, doing projects with each other. We have enjoyed some of the surprising things we have learned about how sensitive young children are to other people's feelings, and how thoughtful they are about their own personalities. Parents who participate in our studies sometimes find that they are seeing their children in a new light.