The primary focus of my research is to explain what makes each of us unique in terms of genetic and environmental causes. Most of my work has explored the development of cognitive skills, temperament, and language from infancy through childhood using siblings, twins and genetic techniques. I am particularly interested in how the genetic code is translated into complex behavior at the level of brain function.
I have two collaborative studies ongoing in my laboratory. The first is funded through the University of Colorado and the National Institutes of Health with collaborators at The Ohio State University. Our study initially explored early environmental influences on reading and math skills in twins using a longitudinal design. Now we are focusing on the emerging adulthood period to see how cognitive skills and strategies early in life translate to academic and occupational attainment. The second study is a collaboration with Dr. Curtis Tatsouka and is funded by the National Science Foundation. The purpose of this study is to understand how children solve math problems involving fractions. Several of my students are studying the cognitive skills and strategies important for mathematical problem solving.