Social cognition of infants is topic of ‘Women on Wednesdays’ talk at ETSU

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, December 3, 2019

JOHNSON CITY — Although humans often take for granted the ability to understand the world around them, this skill begins to develop as early as infancy. Dr. Alyson Chroust of East Tennessee State University will discuss this process in “Peek-a-Boo: How Infant Minds Develop and Perceive the World” at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Reece Museum.

This free public talk is part of the “Women on Wednesdays” lecture series sponsored by the university’s Women’s Studies Program.

During her presentation, Chroust will share her findings on the early origins of social cognition, which is how people process and remember information about others. From birth, infants recognize social stimuli, such as faces, voices and biological motion, even if they are unable to understand what they see. She will share what kinds of information infants can process and at what age this begins to develop.

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Chroust has focused much of her work on how infants develop the capacity to represent humans and their actions. She says understanding the cognitive development of infants is important because it can better equip the field of developmental science in designing interventions for the earlier detection of developmental delays.

A developmental psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at ETSU, Chroust earned her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2016. In addition to cognitive development, she is also interested in memory processes and the influence of prenatal opioid exposure. She is currently investigating the relationship between motor and cognitive development in healthy newborns as well as those exposed to opioids prenatally.

The “Women on Wednesdays” series is designed to raise awareness about the research, scholarship and community engagement conducted by women at ETSU; to provide a venue where women on campus and in the community can discuss and support each other’s work; and to give students an opportunity to meet faculty who could become mentors for their studies.

For more information, call Dr. Phyllis Thompson, director of Women’s Studies, at 423-439-4125. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.