UCLA B.E.A.R. Lab
Brain, Education, Affect, & Regulation
In the B.E.A.R. Lab, we are interested in examining factors at school and at home that help children develop cognition and self-regulation. Interested in participating or learning more? Let us know!
Stress and Learning Study
College is a challenging experience for most students, however students of color must often contend with race-based stressors in addition to academic stress and social stressors with family and friends. The impact of race-based stressors is not always directly observable as their effects are often described as "getting under the skin." This study will use electroencephalogram (EEG) to complement existing behavioral measures and assess how race-based stressors are impacting college students' cognition.
Last Updated: 8/03/2022
Culture, Maternal Behaviors, and Executive Functions
How do cultural values influence maternal socialization and behaviors that related to children’s ability to plan and achieve goals? Parental practices have been consistently shown as an important factors in the development of executive function skills, particularly during early childhood. However, less clear is the role of cultural values (e.g., collectivism, familism) in shaping parental behaviors related to children’s executive function. In this ongoing project, we seek to better understand the associations between demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the family, mother’s collectivistic values, maternal behaviors, and children’s executive functions among Chinese American families.
Study 1 of the project employs online survey method with the goal of reaching a large sample of Chinese American mothers with diverse backgrounds. And Study 2 will involve both laboratory observations and non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) measures related to children’s executive functions.
We are now actively recruiting Chinese American mothers of children between 4- to 8-year old for Study 1. If you are interested in participating, please click here for more information. At the end of the survey you can enter your details to enter the draw to win one of five $100 gift cards. This study is anonymous.
Study 2 of the study will start in early 2021. If you are interested in joining Study 2, please leave your contact information here.
With increased attention to the role of Executive Functions (EF) for children’s early school success, development of these skills – including response inhibition and attention control - has received increasing attention from researchers in disciplines ranging from developmental psychology to cognitive neuroscience. Outside of the developmental literature, some components of EF are known as aspects of cognitive control. Although the concepts of EF in the developmental literature and cognitive control in the cognitive literature are not identical, they share common processes, and discovering how they correspond is a major objective in linking the two.
In part due to the importance of these skills for school readiness, there has been a proliferation of developmental researchers examining the neural correlates cognitive control processes and error monitoring using event-related potentials (ERP) in young children. In our lab we have been examining brain and behavioral correlates of cognitive control in young children and adults.
Children's Cognitive Control
CDS 2017 - Brain and Behavioral Correlates of Error Monitoring
SRCD 2017 - Executive Functions and Academic Success
Cognitive Control and Math Anxiety
How do students engage in cognitive control in the busy world of the classroom? We are examining brain and behavioral measures of student attention in naturalistic settings to better understand how children and adults apply these skills in the real world. This work - currently underway with undergraduate and elementary school students - is part of a larger effort to bring neuroscientific methods out of the laboratory and into the classroom in the service of understanding student behaviors of interest to teachers and families.
Xu, K., Mendez, J., Grammer, J.K. & Lenartowicz, A. (2020, May). Tracking student attention during different instructional activities using mobile EEG. Poster presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting.
Torres, R., Xu, K., Lenartowicz, A., & Grammer, J.K. (2019, May). Differences in neural correlates of attention in undergraduates across classroom activities. Poster presentation at 31st Annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, Washington, D.C.
Classroom Attention Tracking (CAT) Study
We are currently conducting a study using wireless EEG caps, to measure children's attention while attending to science lessons. Children wear a comfortable cap that measures their brain activity while engaged with structured lessons, individual and partner activities in groups of 5-9 children.
We are interested in the how children develop skills for regulating and persisting in the classroom. In this ongoing project, being conducting at UCLA's Laboratory School, we are examining the brain and behavioral correlates of these important school-related abilities.
SRCD (2019) - Torgrimson, S.J., Tan, P., & Grammer, J.K. (2019). Gender Differences in Cognitive Control and Student Persistence: A Neurophysiological Investigation. In S.J. Torgrimson & P. Tan (Chairs). Gender Differences in Psychophysiological Measures of Emotion Reactivity and Self-Regulated Behaviors.
IMBES (2018) - Torgrimson, S.J. & Grammer, J.K. (2018). Task persistence: Self-regulatory and motivational factors in early elementary school. In F. Morrison, (Chair). Executive Function Development in Young Children: Bridging Psychological, Neurological, and Educational Perspectives.
APS (2018) - Torgrimson, S.J., Trane, F., & Grammer, J.K. (2018). None-the-less she persisted: Gender differences in executive function and persistence in early elementary school.
R + I (2018) - Torgrimson, S.J., Trane, F., & Grammer, J.K. (2018). Gender & Cognition: Task persistence in Elementary-Aged Students.
R + I (2018) - A Comparative Case Study of Parental Math Homework-Helping Strategies and the Use of Productive Struggle
Both learning and self-regulation require the ability to change one's behavior when it results in a negative outcome (e.g., correcting behaviors that lead to errors or stopping behaviors that can get one into trouble). However, there is likely great variability in how sensitive children and adults are to errors and how they respond to different kinds of feedback. We hope this study will help us identify different "styles" of feedback responsivity, track how these styles might change across development, and implement more effective, "personalized" ways of providing feedback.
Child Attention & Real-world Emotion study (CARE study)
The C.A.R.E. study is looking into why some children worry or have difficulty managing their fears & anxiety. We hope that findings from this project will lead to improvements in how doctors and parents help children cope with anxiety.