Andrew N Meltzoff

Andrew N Meltzoff
University of Washington Seattle | UW · Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences

Ph.D.

About

360
Publications
132,150
Reads
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42,291
Citations
Introduction
Andrew N Meltzoff currently works at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington Seattle. Andrew does research in Developmental Psychology and social-cognitive neuroscience. Current projects include the origins and development of cognition, social understanding, and language, using both brain and behavioral studies..
Additional affiliations
January 2004 - present
University of Washington Seattle
Position
  • Professor and co-Director

Publications

Publications (360)
Article
Verbal interaction and imitation are essential for language learning and development in young children. However, it is unclear how mother–child dyads synchronize oscillatory neural activity at the cortical level in turn-based speech interactions. Our study investigated interbrain synchrony in mother–child pairs during a turn-taking paradigm of verb...
Article
Full-text available
The excellent temporal resolution and advanced spatial resolution of magnetoencephalography (MEG) makes it an excellent tool to study the neural dynamics underlying cognitive processes in the developing brain. Nonetheless, a number of challenges exist when using MEG to image infant populations. There is a persistent belief that collecting MEG data...
Article
Background: This study examined whether COVID-19-related maternal mental health changes contributed to changes in adolescent psychopathology. Methods: A community sample of 226 adolescents (12 years old before COVID-19) and their mothers were asked to complete COVID-19 surveys early in the pandemic (April-May 2020, adolescents 14 years) and appr...
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Significance Societal stereotypes that girls are less interested than boys in computer science and engineering are endorsed by children and adolescents in a large and socioeconomically diverse sample, across multiple racial/ethnic and gender intersections, and as early as age six (first grade). Gender-interest stereotypes may contribute to subseque...
Article
Societal stereotypes depict girls as less interested than boys in computer science and engineering. We demonstrate the existence of these stereotypes among children and adolescents from first to 12th grade and their potential negative consequences for girls’ sub- sequent participation in these fields. Studies 1 and 2 (n = 2,277; one preregistered)...
Preprint
Strong in-group bonds may promote mental health across development. Violence exposure influences social information processing biases and may also relate to social categorization processes. We examined associations of violence exposure with psychopathology and behavioral and neural indices of implicit and explicit in-group bias after minimal group...
Article
There is an increasing interest in alpha-range rhythms in the electroencephalogram (EEG) in relation to perceptual and attentional processes. The infant mu rhythm has been extensively studied in the context of linkages between action observation and action production in infancy, but less is known about the mu rhythm in relation to cross-modal proce...
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Children from low-socioeconomic status (SES) households on average exhibit lower academic achievement than their higher-SES peers. We investigated a novel hypothesis that differences in early-developing sensory networks—specifically the ventral visual stream (VVS), which is involved in processing visual stimuli—contribute to SES-related disparities...
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Humans perceive emotions in terms of categories, such as “happiness,” “sadness,” and “anger.” To learn these complex conceptual emotion categories, humans must first be able to perceive regularities in expressive behaviors (e.g., facial configurations) across individuals. Recent research suggests that infants spontaneously form “basic-level” catego...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced novel stressors into the lives of youth. Identifying factors that protect against the onset of psychopathology in the face of these stressors is critical. We examine a wide range of factors that may protect youth from developing psychopathology during the pandemic. We assessed pandemic-related stressors, interna...
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Background Adolescence is a period of increased vulnerability for internalizing problems, particularly following stressful life events. We examine how emotion regulation and brain structure and function are associated with internalizing problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, and moderate the association between pandemic-related stressors and intern...
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Possessiveness toward objects and sharing are competing tendencies that influence dyadic and group interactions within the primate lineage. A distinctive form of sharing in adult Homo sapiens involves active giving of high-valued possessions to others, without an immediate reciprocal benefit. In two Experiments with 19-month-old human infants (N =...
Article
There is a strong positive association between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) and academic achievement. This disparity may, in part, be explained by differences in early environmental experiences and language development. Cognitive stimulation—including language exposure, access to learning materials, caregiver involvement in children’s learn...
Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many novel stressors into the lives of youth. Identifying factors that protect against the onset of psychopathology in the face of these pandemic-related stressors is critical. We examine a wide range of factors that may protect youth from developing psychopathology during the pandemic. We assessed pandemic-rela...
Article
Full-text available
In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts have produced guidelines to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but individuals do not always comply with experts’ recommendations. Here, we tested whether a specific psychological belief—identification with all humanity—predicts cooperation with public health guidelines as well as helpful be...
Preprint
Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to the lives of youth, including social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders resulting in a sudden and stark reduction in daily social interactions for children and adolescents. Given that peer relationships are especially important during this developmental stage, it is cruc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Adolescence is a period of increased vulnerability for internalizing problems, particularly following exposure to stressful life events. We examine how patterns of emotion regulation and brain structure and function predict internalizing problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as moderate the association between pandemic-related...
Article
Three hundred and ninety-one children (195 girls; Mage = 9.56 years) attending Grades 1 and 5 completed implicit and explicit measures of math attitudes and math self-concepts. Math grades were obtained. Multilevel analyses showed that first-grade girls held a strong negative implicit attitude about math, despite no gender differences in math grade...
Article
Identifying the potential pathways linking childhood abuse to depression and suicidal ideation is critical for developing effective interventions. This study investigated implicit self-esteem—unconscious valenced self-evaluation—as a potential pathway linking childhood abuse with depression and suicidal ideation. A sample of youth aged 8–16 years (...
Article
This longitudinal study examined early social-cognitive markers that might be associated with the emergence of childhood depression and anxiety. At 5 years of age, 137 children completed an implicit self-esteem measure. At 9 years of age, the same children completed measures of implicit self-esteem, explicit self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Tw...
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Children's math self-concepts-their beliefs about themselves and math-are important for teachers, parents, and students, because they are linked to academic motivation, choices, and outcomes. There have been several attempts at improving math achievement based on the training of math skills. Here we took a complementary approach and conducted an in...
Article
Children selectively imitate in‐group over outgroup individuals under certain experimental conditions. We investigated whether this bias applies to gender in‐groups in China. Three‐ and five‐year‐olds were shown how to operate novel objects by same‐gender and opposite‐gender models. Results indicate that the combination of verbally highlighting the...
Preprint
Children from low-socioeconomic status (SES) households have lower academic achievement than their higher-SES peers. Growing evidence suggests that SES-related differences in brain regions supporting higher-order cognitive abilities may contribute to these differences in achievement. We investigate a novel hypothesis that differences in earlier-dev...
Chapter
There is significant interest in the ways the human body, both one's own and that of others, is represented in the human brain. In this chapter we focus on body representations in infancy and synthesize relevant findings from both infant cognitive neuroscience and behavioral experiments. We review six experiments in infant neuroscience that have us...
Article
Research Findings Two hundred and sixty-seven Chilean children from grades 1–3, their fathers and their mothers completed measures of implicit and explicit math-related beliefs (math–gender stereotypes, math self-concepts) and feelings (math anxiety), as well as tests of mathematical achievement. Children, fathers, and mothers exhibited stereotypes...
Article
This meta-analysis evaluated theoretical predictions from balanced identity theory (BIT) and evaluated the validity of zero points of Implicit Association Test (IAT) and self-report measures used to test these predictions. Twenty-one researchers contributed individual subject data from 36 experiments (total N = 12,773) that used both explicit and i...
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There is growing interest in developing and using novel measures to assess how the body is represented in human infancy. Various lines of evidence with adults and older children show that tactile perception is modulated by a high-level representation of the body. For instance, the distance between two points of tactile stimulation is perceived as b...
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There is a need to help more students succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, with particular interest in reducing current gender gaps in motivation and participation. We propose a new theoretical model, the STEreotypes, Motivation, and Outcomes (STEMO) developmental model, to account for and integrate recent...
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Predicting another person’s emotional response to a situation is an important component of emotion concept understanding. However, little is known about the developmental origins of this ability. The current studies examine whether 10-month-olds expect facial configurations/vocalizations associated with negative emotions (e.g., anger, disgust) to b...
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Both prior experience and pedagogical cues modulate Western children’s imitation. However, these factors have not been systematically explored together within a single study. This paper explored how these factors individually and together influence imitation using 4-year-old children born and reared in mainland China (N = 210)—a country that contai...
Article
This review and synthesis discusses recent work that has utilized brain imaging methods, such as the electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalogram, to provide insights into the ways that the body is represented in the infant brain. One aspect of body representation concerns somatotopic maps of the body surface in somatosensory cortex. A good...
Article
The cover image is based on the Original Article Enhanced Gaze Following Behavior in Deaf Infants of Deaf Parents by Rechele Brooks, Jenny Singleton, and Andrew N. Meltzoff, https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12900.
Article
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Altruistic behavior entails giving valuable benefits to others while incurring a personal cost. A distinctively human form of altruistic behavior involves handing nutritious food to needy strangers, even when one desires the food. Engaging in altruistic food transfer, instead of keeping the food, is costly, because it reduces the caloric intake of...
Article
Accurate perception of emotional (facial) expressions is an essential social skill. It is currently debated whether emotion categorization in infancy emerges in a "broad-to-narrow" pattern and the degree to which language influences this process. We used an habituation paradigm to explore (a) whether 14- and 18-month-old infants perceive different...
Article
Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with numerous aspects of cognitive development and disparities in academic achievement. The specific environmental factors that contribute to these disparities remain poorly understood. We used observational methods to characterize three aspects of the early environment that may contribute to SES-r...
Article
Gaze following plays a role in parent–infant communication and is a key mechanism by which infants acquire information about the world from social input. Gaze following in Deaf infants has been understudied. Twelve Deaf infants of Deaf parents (DoD) who had native exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) were gender‐matched and age‐matched (±7 days...
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Executive functions (EF), including working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility, vary as a function of socioeconomic status (SES), with children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds having poorer performance than their higher SES peers. Using observational methods, we investigated cognitive stimulation in the home as a mechanism li...
Article
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Evidence of group bias based on race, ethnicity, nationality, and language emerges early in the life span. Although understanding the initial acquisition of group bias has critical theoretical and practical implications, precisely how group biases are acquired has been understudied. In two preregistered experiments, we tested the hypothesis that ge...
Article
Neural oscillatory activities in different frequency bands are known to reflect different cognitive functions. The current study investigates neural oscillations involved in tactile novelty processing, in particular how physically different digits of the hand may be categorized as being more or less similar to one another. Time-frequency analyses w...
Article
There is extensive disagreement as to whether preverbal infants have conceptual categories for different emotions (e.g., anger vs. disgust). In addition, few studies have examined whether infants have conceptual categories of emotions within the same dimension of valence and arousal (e.g., high arousal, negative emotions). The current experiments e...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the relations among parental beliefs and practices about mathematics, children’s beliefs about mathematics, participants’ gender, and family socioeconomic status (SES). The study was conducted in Chile, a country with significant gender gaps in standardized test results in mathematics, with boys receiving significantly higher sc...
Article
Full-text available
Within cognitive neuroscience, there is burgeoning interest in how the body is represented in the adult brain. However, there are large gaps in the understanding of neural body representations from a developmental perspective. Of particular interest are the interconnections between somatosensation and vision, specifically infants’ abilities to regi...
Article
How the body is represented in the developing brain is a topic of growing interest. The current study takes a novel approach to investigating neural body representations in infants by recording somatosensory mismatch negativity (sMMN) responses elicited by tactile stimulation of different body locations. Recent research in adults has suggested that...
Article
Full-text available
Children show signs of intergroup biases from early in development, and evidence suggests that these biases increase through middle childhood. Here we critically review and synthesize the literature on the different types of childhood experiences that have been associated with increases or decreases in childhood intergroup bias. Based on the review...
Article
Full-text available
We (Meltzoff et al., 2018) described how Oostenbroek et al.'s (2016) design likely dampened infant imitation. In their commentary, Oostenbroek et al. (in press) argue that our points are post hoc. It is important for readers to know that they are not. Our paper re‐stated “best practices” described in published papers. Based on the literature, the d...
Article
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The ability to selectively direct attention to a certain location or modality is a key neurocognitive skill. One important facet of selective attention is anticipation, a foundational biological construct that bridges basic perceptual processes and higher-order cognition. The current study focuses on the neural correlates of bodily anticipation in...
Article
The focus of the current study is on a particular aspect of tactile perception: categorical segmentation on the body surface into discrete body parts. The MMN has been shown to be sensitive to categorical boundaries and language experience in the auditory modality. Here we recorded the somatosensory MMN (sMMN) using two tactile oddball protocols an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Adults’ causal representations integrate information about predictive relations and the possibility of effective intervention; if one event reliably predicts another, adults can represent the possibility that acting to bring about the first event might generate the second. Here we show that although toddlers (mean age: 24 months) readily learn pred...
Article
The cover image, by Maya L. Rosen et al., is based on the Paper Salience network response to changes in emotional expressions of others is heightened during early adolescence: relevance for social functioning, DOI: 10.1111/desc.12571.
Article
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Causal reasoning is an important aspect of scientific thinking. Even young human children can use causal reasoning to explain observations, make predictions, and design actions to bring about specific outcomes in the physical world. Weight is an interesting type of cause because it is an invisible property. Here, we tested preschool children with c...
Data
DataFile. Data set that includes the children’s correct choice scores of the object displacement, balance scale, and tower building tasks. (SAV)
Article
There is growing interest concerning the ways in which the human body, both one's own and that of others, is represented in the developing human brain. In two experiments with 7-month-old infants, we employed advances in infant magnetoencephalography (MEG) brain imaging to address novel questions concerning body representations in early development...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the interactions between audition and sensorimotor processes is of theoretical importance, particularly in relation to speech processing. Although one current focus in this area is on interactions between auditory perception and the motor system, there has been less research on connections between the auditory and somatosensory modali...
Chapter
Full-text available
The human capacity for imitation exceeds that of other primates. Imitation provides children with an efficient mechanism for learning the behaviors, skills, and customs of their culture. A chief puzzle posed by imitation is the “binding problem”—how the perception of an act leads to the production of a matching response. Progress has been made in s...
Article
Imitation is central to human development. Imitation involves mapping between the perception and production of actions. Imitation after delays implicates preverbal memory. Imitation of people informs us about infants' processing of social events. A comprehensive theory needs to account for the origins, mechanisms, and functions of imitation. Neonat...
Article
Associative learning underlies the formation of new episodic memories. Associative memory improves across development, and this age-related improvement is supported by the development of the hippocampus and pFC. Recent work, however, additionally suggests a role for visual association cortex in the formation of associative memories. This study inve...
Article
Infants learn about cause and effect through hands-on experience; however, they also can learn about causality simply from observation. Such observational causal learning is a central mechanism by which infants learn from and about other people. Across three experiments, we tested infants’ observational causal learning of both social and physical c...
Chapter
Full-text available
There are three chief reasons why people pursue child development. The first reason is grounded in a concern for an individual. The second is motivated by a class of people. The third is driven by the pursuit of abstract knowledge. The first two are based on practical concerns and the third on a quest for knowledge. This chapter discusses new resea...
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The meaning, mechanism, and function of imitation in early infancy have been actively discussed since Meltzoff and Moore's (1977) report of facial and manual imitation by human neonates. Oostenbroek et al. (2016) claim to challenge the existence of early imitation and to counter all interpretations so far offered. Such claims, if true, would have i...
Article
The gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) engagement is large and persistent. This gap is significantly larger in technological fields such as computer science and engineering than in math and science. Gender gaps begin early; young girls report less interest and self-efficacy in technology compared with boys in elementary...
Article
The allocation of resources to a peer partner is a prosocial act that is of fundamental importance. Joint rhythmic movement, such as occurs during musical interaction, can induce positive social experiences, which may play a role in developing and enhancing young children's prosocial skills. Here, we investigated whether joint rhythmic movement, fr...
Article
Adolescence is a unique developmental period when the salience of social and emotional information becomes particularly pronounced. Although this increased sensitivity to social and emotional information has frequently been considered with respect to risk behaviors and psychopathology, evidence suggests that increased adolescent sensitivity to soci...
Article
Identifying the origins of social bias is critical to devising strategies to overcome prejudice. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that young children can catch novel social biases from brief exposure to biased nonverbal signals demonstrated by adults. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we found that childr...
Article
Minority and majority elementary school students from a Native American reservation (N = 188; K–fifth grade; 5-to 10-year-olds) completed tests of academic self-concepts and self-esteem. School grades, attendance, and classroom behavior were collected. Both minority and majority students exhibited positive self-esteem. Minority students demonstrate...
Article
This Introduction highlights the key point of this special issue on brain research, psychology, and learning. The issue discusses concrete ways in which neuroscience and experimental psychology, among other disciplines, can contribute to reducing educational inequities worldwide. The Introduction discusses common themes among the articles in this i...
Article
In play, children often explore mathematical ideas that are vital for future learning. Children’s play also reveals gender differences in both colour and toy preferences. The authors examined how gender related colour preferences of 5-year-olds are related to preferences for math-specific games/toys and gendered beliefs about math. Spanish preschoo...