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Amy E. Booth

Professor of Psychology and Human Development

My research focuses broadly on early cognitive development and learning, with a special emphasis on exploring the origins and outcomes associated with individual variability in pre-academic skills. In one ongoing longitudinal project, funded by the National Science Foundation, we are tracking children’s interests in, and ability to reason about, causal information from preschool through 2nd grade with an eye towards understanding the origins of scientific literacy. In another recently completed project, also funded by the NSF, we instead focused on children’s word-learning skills as a potential mediator between early home language experiences and persistent socioeconomically related differences in vocabulary and early literacy. The goal of both of these projects is to better understand early variability in key foundational skills so that we can develop innovative approaches to assessment and intervention that help to overcome persistent opportunity gaps and maximize the developmental outcomes of all children in both science and language. Indeed, with funding from the Spencer Foundation, Margaret Shavlik and I have begun to implement an intervention focusing on parent-child joint reading activities. Other interventions targeting early scientific literacy are also under development.

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Booth, A., Shavlik, M.* & Haden, C. (in press). Parent’s causal talk: links to children’s causal stance and emerging scientific literacy. Developmental Psychology.

Shavlik, M.*, Davis-Kean, P. & Booth, A. (in press). Early word-learning skills: A missing link in understanding the vocabulary gap? Developmental Science.

Shavlik, M.*, Bauer, J.* & Booth, A. (2020). Children’s preference for causal information in storybooks. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 11. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00666

Bauer, J.* & Booth, A. E. (2018). Exploring potential cognitive foundations of scientific literacy in preschoolers: causal reasoning and executive function. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 46, 275-284. DOI:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.09.007.

Bauer, J. & Booth, A. (2018). Relations Between Executive Functions and Causal Reasoning in Young Children. AERA Online Paper Repository. DOI: 10.302/1315192.

Bauer, J.*, McGroarty-Torres, K. & Booth, A. E. (2016). Causally-rich group play: A powerful context for building preschoolers’ vocabulary. Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental Psychology, 7: 997. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00997. PMC4925663.

Alvarez, A.* & Booth, A. (2016). Exploring individual differences in preschoolers’ causal stance. Developmental Psychology, 52(3), 411-422. DOI: 10.1037/dev0000085

Alvarez, A.* & Booth, A. (2015). Preschoolers prefer to learn causal information. Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental Psychology, 6(60). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00060. PMC4327508.

Booth, A. (2015). Effects of causal information on early word learning: Efficiency and Longevity. Journal of Cognitive Development, 33, 99-107. DOI: 10:1016/j.cogdev.2014.05.001.

Booth, A. & Alvarez, A.* (2015). Developmental changes in causal supports for early word learning. Language Learning and Development, 11(1), 80-92. DOI: 10.1080/15475441.2014.888900

* indicates student