Dr. Lawson's research interests are in the broad areas of autobiographical memory development and child maltreatment. The goals of her research are to (1) contribute to theoretical understanding of cognitive and sociocultural factors that influence children’s autobiographical memory and (2) to apply findings towards establishing and refining empirically supported interviewing methods that bolster the reliability of children’s forensic reports. As a graduate student, Dr. Lawson investigated the role of dyadic conversations on the reliability of children’s event reports as well as children’s recollection of conversations. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is working with Dr. Kristin Valentino to expand her applied forensic interest in children’s memory to examining autobiographical memory development within the context of maltreatment. Using a developmental psychopathology perspective and the sociocultural theory of autobiographical memory development, Dr. Lawson is currently investigating mother-child reminiscing among dyads with and without substantiated maltreatment histories with a specific focus on the influence of maternal and child attachment quality on reminiscing and children’s autobiographical memory.
Christina McDonnell is a sixth year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program. She received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. McDonnell’s research interests lie in understanding the processes that confer risk and resilience across development, and she is further interested in the translation of this research into empirically-based interventions for at-risk youth. Additionally, she is particularly interested in the neurobiology and development of memory within the context of stress and child trauma, as well as autism spectrum disorders. Christina is currently on clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Kaitlin Fondren is a thrid year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program. She received her B.A. from Indiana University at Bloomington. Fondren's research interests lies in exploring the ways in which children develop in the context of psychopathology, with the broader goals of increasing our understanding of typical and atypical development as well as informing interventions that seem to improve maladaptive developmental outcomes. Her current work focuses on the development of children who have experienced maltreatment, with a specific interest in their language development.
Ruth Speidel is a third year graduate student in the Developmental Psychology Program. She received her B.A. from Georgetown University. Speidel is fascinated by the individual and contextual factors that impact how children learn and remember new information. More specifically, she is interested in how the context of maltreatment impacts aspects of cognitive and emotional development, and how this knowledge can be used with a developmental psychopathology perspective to educate effective intervention strategies.
Undergraduate Research Team
Amy K. Nuttall, Ph.D. ('15), Assistant Professor Michigan State University, Department of Human Development & Families Studies
Michelle Comas, Ph.D. ('16). Postdoctoral Fellow in Child and Family Forensic Psychology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Colleagues & Resources