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Research Lab/Projects

Applied Psychology

CSRP Chicago School Readiness Project logo

Chicago School Readiness Project

Launched in 2003, CSRP is a federally-funded randomized control-trial intervention, which included low-income, preschool-aged children living in Chicago. The aim of CSRP is to improve preschool-aged children's chances of success in school. CSRP targets young children's emotional and behavioral adjustment through a comprehensive, classroom-based intervention in Head Start.

CSRP is currently following the children from the original sample through high school, offering a rich opportunity to model children’s trajectories of both their self-regulation and behavioral health from preschool through high school. The study is also exploring the impact of the intervention on college and career readiness.

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Chinese Families Lab (CFL)

The project draws from both the Nanjing Adolescent and Nanjing MetroBaby study, which are longitudinal, mix-methods studies with over 1100 Chinese families and children starting at 7th grade for the adolescent study and birth for the MetroBaby study. The project is led by Dr. Niobe Way, Dr. Hirokazu YoshikawaDr. Sumie Okazaki, and Dr. Sebastian Cherng from NYU, and is a collaboration across NYU, NYU-Shanghai, NYU-Abu Dhabi, University of Pennsylvania, and Southeast University in China. We are interested in how the changing social, economic, and cultural context influences Chinese parents' parenting practices and children’s development. The project has finished a ten-year follow-up from the MetroBaby project in 2016. Ongoing research papers under development include examining Chinese mothers’ and fathers gender socialization, adolescents' gender beliefs and their academic achievements, gender beliefs and friendship quality, parents' workplace climate and families' mental health, etc. 

Five children drawing on sidewalk with chalk


Strengthening Connections & Opportunities for Learning in and out of Schools

The CONNECT lab at NYU conducts research to understand and strengthen contexts for learning and mental health in low-income education settings. We study natural opportunities for academic, social, and emotional learning via productive relationships and quality interactions.

Using social network approaches, we investigate and enhance connections among children, between children and non-familial adults (educators, practitioners), and among adults who work with youth. We collaborate with school and community partners to activate internal resources to support children with and without behavioral difficulties.

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The Culture, Emotion, and Health Lab (CEH)

CEH is directed by William Tsai, Ph.D. The lab studies how people regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and how these processes lead to health and well-being. We focus our research questions on how cultural tendencies and values can shape the development and use of these processes. Our work is interdisciplinary, spanning across social, clinical, and health psychology. Recently, we have begun a line of research with ethnic minority cancer survivors, which is a population that experiences significant cancer health disparities. We are interested in applying cultural psychology theories with psychosocial interventions to overcome cultural barriers to reduce the undue burden of cancer experienced by ethnic minority cancer survivors.

The Families and Children Experiencing Success (FACES) Lab

FACES is directed by Anil Chacko, Ph.D. The lab was developed to serve the families of youth exhibiting disruptive behavior disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, and other conduct disorders. Its research aims to understand how to develop the most effective prevention, intervention, and service models for youth with disruptive behavior disorders and related conditions, or those at high risk for developing them.

Mother with two children. One child has headgear on.

The Infant Studies of Language and Neurocognitive Development (ISLAND)

The Infant Studies of Language and Neurocognitive Development, direct by Dr. Natalie Brito it a developmental psychology lab interested in the impact of the social and language environment on early neurocognitive development. The ultimate goal of the lab is to understand how to best support caregivers and create environments that foster optimal child development.

cartoon of kids holding hands

The Latino Family Engagement and Language Development (L-FELD)

L-FELD is directed by Gigliana Melzi, Ph.D., and Adina Schick, Ph.D. L-FELD follows a partnership-based model, the investigations stemming from the team address the socio-cultural contexts of Latino and African heritage child development. In one set of projects, we investigate the ways culture, as transmitted in daily adult-child interactions both at home and at school, shape preschoolers’ development of school readiness skills, and in particular their language and emergent literacy skills. In a second set of projects (conducted in collaboration with Dr. Christine McWayne at Tufts University), we address the ways pan-Latino caregivers define family engagement in their preschool children’s education, and the relation between their engagement and children’s school readiness, including language, literacy, and social-emotional skills. Watch the video

Mindful Education Lab

Housed within the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, the Mindful Education Lab oversees two parallel but connected programs - research and teacher training. Our Mindful Research Lab looks at the psychological and neurological effects of mindfulness on student learning, teacher effectiveness, and school and classroom climate. This work, in turn, informs our Mindful Teacher Program (MTP), which offers professional development to schools by training educators (teachers, principals, school staff) in techniques to improve their lives both in and out of school. We also train high school students in mindfulness as part of the College Prep Academy, which prepares urban youth for success in college.

Educational interventions developed by Aronson and colleagues have been successful in boosting student achievement, well being, tests scores, and learning, and have been inducted into the Department of Education’s exclusive “What Works Clearinghouse,” a collection of school interventions of carefully vetted practices deemed worthy of using in America’s schools. Dr. Hill is among the nation’s most well respected and influential statisticians and methodologists.

The Neuroscience and Education Lab (NEL)

NEL is directed by Clancy Blair, Ph.D., and Cybele Raver, Ph.D. The lab focuses on the development of self-regulation throughout the lifespan, from infancy to adulthood. Using a multi-method approach, NEL aims to build a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which early environmental adversity associated with social and economic inequality shapes cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physiological aspects of development.

cartoon child playing with bubbles

Play & Language Lab

The Play & Language Lab, directed by Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, Ph.D. studies children’s learning and development across the first years of life, with a focus on how social and cultural contexts influence the skills that children acquire and how they engage with their physical and social environments. Our observations of children and parents in structured tasks and the natural setting of their home environments, provide us with rich video records for detailed coding of children, caregivers, and context.

Pach name inside circle

The Project for the Advancement of our Common Humanity (PACH)

PACH is directed by Niobe Way, Ph.D. PACH is an emerging think tank, funded by the NoVo Foundation and based at New York University, that is designed to engage researchers, policymakers, practitioners, activists, educators, artists, and journalists in a series of conversations focused on what we have learned from science and practice regarding what lies at the root of our crisis of connection and what we can do to create a more just and humane world. Presently, PACH entails a public lecture series and monthly conversations with 50 senior-level professionals.


The Purpose Learning Action Young Children Lab (playLab)

The playLab is directed by Jennifer Astuto, Ph.D. Their research designed to engage in the rigorous and socially responsible scientific examination of play in young children’s lives. We utilize randomized control designs, multilevel modeling, interviews and ethnographic methods to explore the unique context of play in promoting school readiness, learning and civic engagement for children who are growing up in poverty and/or are from immigrant families. By cultivating strong partnerships with the communities we work in, we generate empirically-driven knowledge that is culturally relevant and socially just. The playLab strives to produce actionable research and develop collaborations that are used to empower and strengthen the lives of young children through education and policy.

group photo of lab

The Researching Inequity in Society Ecologically (RISE)

RISE is directed by Erin Godfrey, Ph.D., and Shabnam Javdani, Ph.D. The team’s research and activities serve traditionally marginalized populations, focusing on health and mental health disparities in women and youth who are involved, or at risk of involvement, with the justice system. As such, the RISE Team takes a contextual, multi-level and interdisciplinary approach to systems change and implementing evidence-based practices promoting health and well-being, working closely with community partners to bridge the gap between research and practice.

A young woman with a purple filter over her picture and the Safe Spaces logo

SAFE Spaces: Systems Aligning For Equity

Developed in partnership with the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), SAFE Spaces uses evidence-based principles to provide training and coaching support for frontline staff working in ACS Close to Home (CTH) non-secure and limited-secure placement facilities.

Through unique skills-based staff training activities and guidance from a trained coach, SAFE Spaces aims to increase the professional development, job satisfaction, retention, and well-being in CTH staff who work directly with youth. By focusing on these staff outcomes and the environment in which they work, we also help to promote and encourage a healthier environment for youth’s lives and promote their safety, well-being and positive development. The efficacy of SAFE Spaces is being assessed through a cluster-randomized control trial supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). 

A group of children at a table

SMART Beginnings

The SMART Beginnings project tests a comprehensive approach to the promotion of school readiness in low-income families, beginning shortly after the birth of the child, through enhancement of positive parenting practices (and when present, reduction of psychosocial stressors) within the pediatric primary care platform. We do so by integrating two evidence-based interventions: 1) a universal primary prevention strategy (Video Interaction Project [VIP]); and 2) a targeted secondary/tertiary prevention strategy (Family Check-up [FCU]) for families identified as having additional risks. Drs. Pamela Morris (NYU), Alan Mendelsohn (NYU School of Medicine), and Daniel Shaw (University of Pittsburgh) have received support and funding for this project from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Sirin's Lab

The lab of Selcuk Sirin, Ph.D., uses empirical research methods to better understand the needs of children and families, and to arm professionals and policymakers with this knowledge so as to better address the needs of the most vulnerable. The goal that unites all of his work is to enhance the lives of marginalized children using development in context as a general framework. Selcuk focuses on immigrant children in New York, Muslim youth in the US, refugees in Turkey and Norway, and students at risk in US schools.

Crayons with a coloring child in the backgroun

Strengthening the Architecture for High Quality Universal Pre-K (NYU UPK)

Since 2014, senior leaders in education research and practice at both New York University and the NYC Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education (DOE-DECE) have fostered a research-practice partnership to support roll out of universal pre-kindergarten through Pre-K For All improving the quality of its programming. The purpose of this partnership is to provide quantitative and capacity-building solutions to educational problems faced by the DOE-DECE.