Welcome to the Applied Developmental Psychology Website!

GMU offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Developmental Psychology. The program focuses on development during childhood and provides basic knowledge about typical and atypical development, skills for assessing developmental level and conducting research, and techniques for planning and evaluating programs that foster optimal development. Opportunities exist for mentored research, comprehensive training in advanced statistical analysis, practica at local sites, training and experience in teaching, and applied work under faculty supervision at community sites.

ADP welcomes two new faculty members!

The ADP program is very excited to welcome two new tenure-line sssistant professors in Applied Developmental Psychology Fall 2017! Dr. Thalia Goldstein (Website: http://webpage.pace.edu/tgoldstein/) and Dr. Olga Kornienko (Website: http://www.olgakornienkophd.com/research/ )


Dr. Goldstein studies children's imagination, pretend play, theatre, and social development - specifically how involvement in fictional worlds affects children's social and emotional skills. Dr. Kornienko studies how social/peer networks promote and constrain psychological adaptation, development, and health among ethnically diverse youth, and how biological processes that underpin stress, social status, and immunity, are associated with social networks.


We are very excited to welcome Olga and Thalia to our ADP community!


We hope to search next year for a another ADP faculty member (to replace Dr. Denham who retired this past year)

New major grant awards to ADP faculty!

Dr. Goldstein was award a grant from the Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood to investigate the role that physical embodiment of characters plays in children's learning from fiction and pretend. Previous work on children's learning from pretend and fiction has focused on presentational pretend--where children watch others play. We are replicating previous findings, and extending them to investigate whether having children engage physically with puppets or fully embody a character in costume differentially affects their learning.


The Institute of Education Sciences has awarded Dr. Pasnak, in combination with Co-PIs Julie Kidd and Patrick McKnight, $1.690,000 to study the effects of patterning instruction. The effects of teaching Alexandria kindergartners increasing, decreasing, and symmetrical series of letters, numbers, clock faces, and various types of objects will be measured. The effects of this instruction on standardized tests of early literacy and early mathematics will be compared with the effects of state of the art instruction on those subject matters. We will experimentally investigate the role that portraying a character (compared to simply reading about the character) is associated with social understanding and empathy for that character.


Dr. Goldstein was also awarded an NEA:Art Works grant. This project is investigating the types of teaching strategies used in the very best acting classes for adolescents, in order to discover what kinds of social, emotional, and cognitive skills theatre may teach. We are filming a large number of classrooms, across the United States, at various high level high schools for the arts, as well as a large scale survey of acting teachers, and engaging in qualitative and quantitative analyses of both implicit and explicit teaching strategies used in the acting classroom.


Drs. Winsler and Goldstein (and Kim Sheridan from CEHD/ CVPS) received federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for the establishment of the multiyear, renewable MasonARC -GMU's Arts Research Center. Multidisciplinary research on the arts and child development will be funded starting with a) large-scale secondary data analysis on benefits of arts courses from the Miami School Readiness Project, b) new laboratory experiments on the role that acting training has on children's emotional granularity and mental state attribution to others, and c) qualitative observational studio art studies with children. Also, biennial conferences will be organized at GMU bringing artists, arts researchers, policy makers, and the public together to better understand arts and human development. Our arts partners include the Mason Community Arts Academy and the Virginia Repertory Theatre.

ADP Program Newsletter

Click here to download (PDF) the latest ADP Program newsletter.

Spring 2018 ADP Colloquia Series

All colloquia are located in Sandbridge Hall 107 @ 12:00pm on Wednesdays unless otherwise noted. All members of the GMU community are welcome to attend.

Date Presenter Affiliation Title
Jan 31 Dr. Naomi Aguiar Post-doc Georgetown University Does an imaginary friend count if it’s on a video game?”: Children’s concepts of and experiences with intelligent agents
Feb 7 Dr. Dylan Conger

George Washington University, Public Policy

The Effect of Advanced Placement Science on Students' Skills, Confidence, and Stress
Feb 14 Dr. Olga Kornienko


Exploring associations between hormones and social network structure and dynamics
Feb 21 Dr. Jennifer Glynn Director of Research, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Closing the Excellence Gap: Meeting the Needs of High-Ability, Low-Income Students Through Policy and Practice
Feb 28 Dr. Thalia Goldstein GMU The Role of Drama and Imagination in Building Children's Social and Emotional Skills
Mar 7 Dr. Carol Sigelman George Washington University, Psychology The Development of Stigmatizing Reactions to Human Differences
Mar 21 T. Garey Davis and Vanessa Correa Department Graduate Student Diversity Event - Location TBA Creating community: The importance of ethnic and cultural diversity
Mar 28 Dr. Christan Coogle GMU CEHD Technology-Enhanced Coaching to Bridge the Research to Practice Gap in Early Childhood Special Education
Apr 4  Dr. Lauren Supplee Child Trends

Precision medicine is transforming medical care, can the same methods be used to create precision home visiting?

Apr 11 Dr. Carole Brown Psychology, Catholic University Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: What Recent Research Reveals
Apr 18 Dr. Allison Redlich GMU: CLS Pleading Guilty When Young
Apr 25 Dr. George Buzzell UMD Post-doc Mind Your Mistakes: The Neural Basis of Error Monitoring Across Development and Relations to Psychopathology
May 2 Dr. Jenny Tung, Duke University Department Brown Bag – Location TBA