Welcome to the Carlson and Zelazo Lab!

The Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

The Carlson and Zelazo Lab is co-directed by Dr. Stephanie M. Carlson and Dr. Philip D. Zelazo, leading scientists in the field of cognitive development. Our lab focuses on the research of developmental social cognitive neuroscience, with executive function (conscious control of thought, action, and emotion) at its core.

Executive function involves a key set of skills (working memory, inhibitory control, set-shifting, and mindful reflection) that are proving to be implicated in a number of developmental outcomes such as school readiness and academic success, social functioning, and child and adolescent well-being. We adopt a multi-level and multi-method approach to this topic, including genetic, neuroimaging, behavioral, cognitive, and socio-cultural studies. Our research is conducted with children ages two and up, and includes both typically developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Carlson and Zelazo Lab is located in the historic Institute of Child Development (ICD) at the University of Minnesota, which was founded in 1925, and continues to be one of the leading research centers in the world for inquiries into both basic and applied developmental studies. In 2013, ICD’s Ph.D. program in developmental psychology was ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report.