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/ Department of Psychology

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Experts in: Child development

Beauchamp, Miriam

BEAUCHAMP, Miriam

Professeure titulaire

My research program is aimed at achieving a better understanding of childhood development and the consequences of early brain injury. We use several methodological and technological approaches in four main spheres of investigation:

  • Studies of normal childhood development and predictive factors of brain and cognitive maturation
  • Investigation of the effects of perinatal brain injury (e.g. prematurity) and postnatal brain injury (e.g. cranial trauma) on cognition, social competence, quality of life and brain development
  • Development and validation of new cognitive tasks and social skills (e.g. moral reasoning, theory of mind, executive functions)
  • Development of intervention programs for parents and children/teens with traumatic brain injuries

Target populations: healthy populations, traumatic brain injury, prematurity, behavioural problems, child psychiatric disorders, metabolic/genetic diseases, other neuropsychological disorders, etc.

Techniques used: MRI, fMRI, PET, DTI, eye tracking, neuropsychological assessment, longitudinal studies, etc.

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JOUSSEMET, Mireille

Professeure agrégée

My research lies at the crossroads of social psychology and developmental psychology, and is based on the theory of self-determination (Deci & Ryan; 1980, 2000, 2010), which postulates that human beings have three essential psychological needs: competence, relatedness and autonomy. My research activities concern children’s need for autonomy and their development.

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KING, Suzanne

Professeure associée

Suzanne King is a Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and has been a Lead Investigator in the Psychosocial Research Division at the Douglas Institute Research Centre since 1991. Her prior work on schizophrenia investigated the associations between the course of schizophrenia and family attitudes toward the patient (expressed emotions).

More recently, Project EnviroGen has been investigating the means by which risk factors for schizophrenia, including genetics, prenatal stress, obstetric complications, childhood trauma and teenage cannabis use, influence the appearance of symptoms among schizophrenic individuals and in "healthy" control populations. Using a local natural disaster to prospectively examine the effects of prenatal stress, Dr. King and her team followed over 150 women who had been pregnant during the 1998 ice storm and their children.

Project Icestorm showed that the severity of maternal stress and the trimester of the pregnancy at the time of exposure explain the variance in the children's cognitive, behavioural and physical development. The effects of exposure to prenatal maternal stress were still present among children at age 11 ½.

A second study on prenatal maternal stress, the Iowa Flood Study, attempted to replicate Project Icestorm by following 300 women who had experienced flooding in June 2008, including a cohort of women whose risk factors and psychosocial functioning had been assessed before the disaster, making this the first pre- and post-trauma study of pregnant women.

Lastly, the QF2011 Queensland Flood Study includes pre-flood psychosocial data, a randomized control group using two birth support practices by a midwife, and biological samples from the births collected from nearly 300 Australian women. Dr. King is attempting to integrate the findings of her prospective and retrospective studies in a neurodevelopmental model of severe mental illness.

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Lippé, Sarah

LIPPÉ, Sarah

Professeure titulaire

As adults we are often amazed by how quickly and easily children learn. There are many factors influencing child development. My research program is aimed at better understanding the cerebral mechanisms involved in learning processes in children and infants.

  • Study of cerebral mechanisms for learning in healthy children.
  • Links with normal brain development, sleep/wake cycles, nutrition, family environment, self-regulation by children, etc.

Second, I am interested in the pathologies that sometimes occur at key moments in child development and can be harmful to cerebral, cognitive and emotional development. For instance, I am studying the effects of epilepsy caused by a developmental lesion and epilepsy with no apparent cause.

Investigation methods: neuroimaging (structural and functional), electrophysiology (EEG/MEG), behaviour (eye tracking, neuropsychological tests).

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