Dr. Stephanie Carlson is our Co-Founder and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development.
I investigate basic developmental processes in executive function (brain basis of self-control) in children from infancy through adolescence, with a focus on the preschool period. I have contributed to measurement starting at 24 months of age with the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS, provided by Reflection Sciences, Inc.). I am particularly interested in how EF skills can be cultivated through play, parenting, and education, and in turn, how EF skills prepare children for learning, especially in STEM fields.
- Grenell, A., Prager, E. O., Schaefer, C., White, R., Kross, E., Duckworth, A. L., & Carlson, S. M. (2019). Individual differences in the effectiveness of self-distancing for young children’s emotion regulation. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 37, 84-100. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjdp.12259
- Meuwissen, A. S., & Carlson, S. M. (2019). An experimental study of the effects of autonomy support on preschoolers’ self-regulation. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 60, 11-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2018.10.001
- Grenell, A., Prager, E. O., Schaefer, C., White, R., Kross, E., Duckworth, A. L., & Carlson, S. M. (2019). Experimental paradigm for measuring the effects of self-distancing in young children. Journal of Visual Experiments (JoVE), 145, e59056. http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/59056
- Beck, D. M., Eales, L., & Carlson, S. M. (2020). Hot and cool executive function in overweight/obese preschool children. Cognitive Development, 54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2020.100883
- Clark, D. A., Donnellan, M. B., Durbin, C. E., Brooker, R. J., Neppl, T. K., Gunnar, M., Carlson, S. M., Le Mare, L., Kochanska, G., Fisher, P. A., Leve, L. D., Rothbart, M. K., & Putnam, S. P. (2020). Using Item Response Theory to evaluate the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire: Considerations of general functioning and assessment length. Psychological Assessment. https://doi.org/10.1037/pas0000883
- Distefano, R., Schubert, E. C., Finsaas, M. C., Desjardins, C. D., Helseth, C. K., Lister, M., Carlson, S. M., Zelazo, P. D., & Masten, A. M. (2020). Ready Set Go! A promising school readiness program to boost executive function skills in preschoolers experiencing homelessness and high mobility. European Journal of Developmental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2020.1813103
- Zelazo, P. D., & Carlson, S. M. (2020). The neurodevelopment of executive function skills: Implications for academic achievement gaps. Psychology & Neuroscience, 13, 273-298. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pne0000208
- Pesch, A., Semenov, A., & Carlson, S. M. (2020). The path to fully representational theory of mind: Conceptual, executive, and pragmatic challenges. Frontiers in Psychology. November 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.581117
- Rockhold, M., Kruger, A., de Water, E., Lindgren, C., Sandness, K., Eckerle, J., Schumacher, M., Fink. B., Boys, C., Carlson, S. M., Fuglestad, A., Mattson, S., Jones, K., Riley, E., & Wozniak, J. (2020). Social functioning across development in children and adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Online DOI: 10.1111/acer.14538
- Grenell, A., & Carlson, S. M. (2021). Individual differences in executive function and learning: The role of knowledge type and conflict with prior knowledge. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.105079
- Distefano, R., Fiat, A. E., Merrick, J. S., Slotkin, J., Zelazo, P. D., Carlson, S. M., & Masten, A. S. (2021). NIH Toolbox Executive Function measures with Developmental Extensions: Reliability and validity with preschoolers in emergency housing. Child Neuropsychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/09297049.2021.1888905
- White, R. E., & Carlson, S. M. (2021). Pretending with realistic and fantastical stories facilitates executive function in 3-year-old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2021.105090
- Distefano, R., Grenell, A., Palmer, A. R., Houlihan, K., Masten, A. S., & Carlson, S. M. (2021). Self-regulation as promotive for academic achievement in low- and high-risk children. Cognitive Development, 58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2021.101050
- Kalstabakken, A. W., Desjardins, C. D., Anderson, J. E., Berghuis, K. J., Hillyer, C. K., Seiwert, M. J., Carlson, S. M., Zelazo, P. D., & Masten, A. S. (2021). Executive function measures in early childhood screening: Concurrent and predictive validity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 57, 144-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.05.009
- Eales, L., Ferguson, G. M., Gillespie, S., Smoyer, S., & Carlson, S. M. (2021). Family resilience and psychological distress in the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed methods study. Developmental Psychology, 57, 1563-1581. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0001221
- Eales, L., Gillespie, S., Alstat, R.A., Ferguson, G. M., & Carlson, S. M. (2021). Children’s screen media use in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Child Development. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13652
- Vaisarova, J. & Carlson, S. M. (2021). When a spoon is not a spoon: Divergent thinking and executive function in young children. Trends in Neuroscience & Education, 25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tine.2021.100161
- Castelo, R. J., Meuwissen, A. S., Distefano, R., McClelland, M. M., Galinsky, E., Zelazo, P. D., & Carlson, S. M. (2022). Parent provision of choice is a key component of autonomy support in predicting child executive function skills. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.773492
- Carlson, S. M. (2021, August). Think again! Preparing young minds for the future. Workshop presented to Noggin employees. [Virtual]
- Carlson, S. M. (2020, October). Roots of Success: Supporting the Development of Executive Function Skills. TEDx Minneapolis
- Carlson, S. M. (2020, October). Executive function and school readiness. Invited presentation in the 35th Annual Learning Differences Conference. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. [Virtual due to COVID-19]
- Carlson, S. M. (2020, February). Executive function: Foundation for success. Invited presentation to Child-Parent Centers (Head Start) and United Way of Tucson, AZ.
- Carlson, S. M. (2020, February). Play and learning: The role of executive function. Invited ADVANCE NSF Women in Science Lecture, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
- Carlson, S. M. (2020, January). Executive function skills: Foundation for school readiness. Invited presentation to the Alabama Department of Education Office of Early Childhood. Montgomery, AL.
- Carlson, S. M. (2019, December). Executive function skills: Promoting healthy EF in educators and teens. Invited workshop to Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Summit Schools. Pasadena, TX.
- Carlson, S. M. (2019, September). Parenting hacks from behavioural science. Invited workshop in Behaviour Exchange 2019. London, England.
- Carlson, S. M., & Johnson, J. (2019, June). Executive function: Foundation for success. Invited pre-conference workshop presented at BUILD: QRIS National Meeting. New Orleans, LA.
- Carlson, S. M. (2018, October). Lessons from the Marshmallow Test. Invited speaker at the Innovation in Early Childhood Development and K-12 Education conference. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, MN.
- Carlson, S. M. (2018, June). Role play: Significance for cognitive and social development. Invited speaker at the workshop, Pretend Play and Imagination, by the Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark.
- Carlson, S. M. (2018, March). Executive function in childhood. Invited speaker for Grand Rounds, Columbia University Medical Center. New York, NY.
- Carlson, S. M. (2018, February). Executive function: Development and relevance for education. Invited inaugural speaker in the Colloquium Series in Educational Neuroscience. Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN.
- Carlson, S. M. (2018, February). Learning science-based education: New tools bringing cognitive research into practice. Invited panel speaker, LearnLaunch “Across Boundaries” Conference. Boston, MA.
- Carlson, S. M. (2017, October). Executive function in early childhood: Development and intervention. Invited speaker for the Goldman Colloquium Series in Developmental Psychology, University of Florida. Gainesville, FL.
- Carlson, S. M. (2017, October). The Batman effect. Invited plenary symposium, biennial meeting of the Cognitive Development Society. Portland, OR.
- Carlson, S. M. (2017, February). Shaping Executive Function Skills: What Can Caregivers Do? Invited speaker at the Simms/Mann Institute Think Tank. Beverly Hills, CA.
- Carlson, S. M. (2016, October). Connecting the dots between play and learning: The role of executive function. Invited keynote speaker at the Early Learning Community Lecture Series, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, University of Denver, CO.
- Carlson, S. M. (2016, September). Executive function: A key differentiator for student success. Invited keynote presentation at the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. Morristown, NJ.