Daniel Berry

My research focuses on clarifying the processes—mind, brain and environment—through which children’s experiences with their parents, teachers and peers shape their abilities to control their impulses, purposely maintain and shift their attention, and hold and manipulate information in mind. Broadly, this set of inter-related skills is referred to as “self-regulation.”

A good deal of research indicates that these skills play a critical role in the way children understand and get along with others, as well as how they learn at home and school. In my lab, we are particularly interested in clarifying the experiential and physiological mechanisms through which these processes emerge.

Some questions that motivate my work and the work of my lab include:

  • What do we mean when we use the term self-regulation? What is it? And, in an evolutionary sense, why is it?
  • Why do some kids (and adults) show rapid and pronounced physiological and behavioral responses to challenge, whereas others do much less so?
  • When, how, and for whom do such physiological stress promote or undermine effective “real-time” regulation and learning?
  • What early experiences might calibrate these physiological and behavioral regulatory systems?
  • How do children’s social relationships at home and in their classrooms function to support or hinder these processes?
  • Collectively, how can we leverage this information to support kids at home and school—particularly those facing the environmental risks common to economic adversity?

Full bio.