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Department of Psychology

Family and Child Neuroscience Lab

Our Research

 Learn more about our new research project:

Press articles:

Fox News

University of Denver study examining impact of marijuana on pregnant women

Is It OK to Smoke Weed While Pregnant? New DU Study Takes a Closer Look


We ask the question, how does everyday experience impact the brains of two generations?

 New Parents


Mothers' and fathers' brains change during the early postpartum period. Their childhood and current stress can impact the neural adaptation to parenthood. Our research aims to provide scientific information for optimal ways to support new parents' adjustment to parenthood

  • Kim, P., Leckman, J. F., Mayes, L. C., Feldman, R, Wang, X., & Swain, J. E. (2010). The plasticity of human maternal brain: longitudinal changes in brain anatomy during the early postpartum period. Behavioral Neuroscience, 124, 695-700.

  • Kim, P., Capistrano, C., & Congleton, C. (in press). Socioeconomic Disadvantages and Neural Sensitivity to Infant Cry: Role of Maternal Distress. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN)


Mom and baby smiling

During the prenatal and postnatal period, the infant's brain develops rapidly. Maternal stress and parenting can impact brain development and have long-term influence. Our research aims to provide scientific information for optimal ways to support infant brain development.

  • Kim, P., Evans, G. W., Angstadt, M., Ho, S., Sripada, C., Swain, J. E., Liberzon, I., & Phan, K. L. (2013). Effects of Childhood Poverty and Chronic Stress on Emotion Regulatory Brain Function in Adulthood, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 110(46), 18442-18447.

  • Capistrano, C. G., Bianco, H., & Kim, P. (2016). Poverty and internalizing symptoms: The indirect effect of middle childhood poverty on internalizing symptoms via an emotional response inhibition pathway. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1242.