Led by Drs. Clancy Blair and Cybele Raver, the federally-funded Neuroscience and Education Lab (NEL) focuses on the development of self-regulation among infants, toddlers, children and adults and the implications of self-regulation for individuals' success in educational and work settings. These include Blair’s and Raver’s many federally-funded studies of a) executive function (a key cognitive component of self-regulation), b) children’s modulation of negative emotions such as frustration and distress (key components of emotion regulation), and c) of children’s ability to flexibly shift and focus attention when facing complex or emotionally charged situations (key components of attention regulation).

Members of the NEL lab work to address pressing scientific questions at neurobiological, behavioral, and molar levels, testing ways that these three domains of self-regulation work conjointly to support children’s school readiness and academic achievement. The NEL lab also pursues questions regarding the continuity versus change in children’s self-regulatory skills over time, across different home, school and neighborhood contexts. The Blair and Raver programs of research place heavy emphasis on building an understanding of the role of environmental adversity in shaping children’s self-regulation. To examine this question, Blair and Raver focus their research effort on the development of self-regulation among low-income and poor children in economically disadvantaged communities.

The NEL lab places corresponding strong emphasis on ways to prevent the negative consequences of poverty by evaluating a set of promising intervention models from infancy through middle childhood using randomized control trial design. Additional objectives of the NEL program of research include provision of technical support and guidance to local, state and federal agencies on ways to support the healthy cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development of our nation’s low-income children.