Natalie Brito

New York University

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. I received my PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Human Development and Public Policy from Georgetown University. As a developmental psychologist, my focus is on understanding how early social and cultural contexts (e.g., poverty, multilingualism) shape the trajectory of neurocognitive development. Specifically, my research examines associations between the early home environment and the development of memory and language during the first three years of life. I have published work on early contextual learning, parent-child interactions, bilingualism, and how individual differences mediate brain-behavior associations during childhood.

Education

  • Georgetown University, Washington, DC2013

    PhD, Psychology (Concentration in Human Development and Public Policy)

    Advisor: Dr. Rachel Barr

  • College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA2008

    M.A., Experimental Psychology

    Advisor: Dr. Peter M. Vishton

  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA2005

    B.A., Psychology

    Advisor: Dr. Judy DeLoache

Positions

  • Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology2017-Present

    Department of Applied Psychology

    New York University

  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow2015-2017

    Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology

    Columbia University Medical Center

  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow2013 - 2015

    Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars

    Columbia University

  • Visiting ResearcherSummer 2012

    Speech Acquisition & Perception Group, University of Pompeu Fabra

    Director: Dr. Nurìa Sebastian-Gallès

  • Statistics Consultant2009 - 2011

    WETA TV and Public Broadcasting Station, Arlington VA
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Teaching

  • Survey of Developmental Methods

    Graduate Seminar

    NYU Steinhardt

  • Infancy

    Undergraduate Seminar

    Georgetown University

Socioeconomic Status and Neurocognitive Development

Understanding the effects of socioeconomic (SES) disparities on early child development is an important population health concern as over 1 in 5 American children live below the poverty line. Past studies suggest that cognitive deficits in children from lower-SES families may mediate later academic achievement. Examining SES disparities and its relation to neurocognitive development early in life is vital to knowing when and how to implement potential interventions.

Cognitive Flexibility in Bilingual Infants and Toddlers

An estimated 60% of children around the world grow up learning multiple languages as effortlessly as monolinguals acquiring a single language. Past studies have demonstrated a “bilingual advantage” on a select number of domain-general cognitive tasks across the lifespan. Enhanced abilities in these processes may increase a child’s capacity for learning and problem solving; studying the bilingual child early in life may offer the unique opportunity to empirically test questions regarding the interplay between language and cognition.

Memory From 2D Media

Television viewing and picture book reading are prevalent activities during toddlerhood. Past research has shown that toddlers can imitate from both books and video, even after long delays. Specific memories can be (1) maintained using reinstatement procedures or (2) forgotten memories can be reactivated with an aspect of the original learning experience. Knowing what infants and toddlers learn from 2D media can contribute to our understanding of how to best present information in order to optimize learning and retention.

Media