Penn State's Homepage Child Brain Development Lab Homepage



Welcome to the Child Brain Development Lab at Penn State University!


The human brain is a remarkable organ that never stops changing.   And from the time children are born—the brain starts changing a lot!  Every time your child learns new things, connections in the brain are forever altered.  Your child’s thirst for knowledge and experiences is making a lifetime imprint on how her brain functions.

Anyone who knows kids knows what individual personalities they each have.  Those traits and personalities that make your child unique have a lot to do with how their brain perceives and processes information. What makes one child laugh may make another child a little frightened.  What makes one child cry another child might not even notice.  In the Child Brain Development Lab, we are interested in understanding how these differences in the brain’s perception and processing are related to differences in personality, but also how these differences develop to begin with.  Many people talk about genes that determine someone’s personality, but genes only play one part in influencing how the brain works.  All of the experiences that a child has from the time they are conceived also play a part in influencing how the brain works.  So if we can learn more about how experiences impact brain development—we are on our way to understanding how to create healthy environments that will help children’s brains develop, and how to change experiences for kids who are having a hard time because their emotions and their behavior present challenges for them at home and at school.  To understand these things better, we need to know more about children at many different ages, and children with many different types of personalities.

The Child Brain Development Lab is directed by Dr. Lisa Gatzke-Kopp, an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies At Penn State.  To learn more about the lab or to find out if there is a project currently underway that would benefit from your participation please call  814-865-7247.