PETER C. GERHARDSTEIN
PhD., University of Minnesota
McDonnell-Pew Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Arizona
Assistant Director, Rutgers' Early Learning Project, Rutgers University
Area: Cognitive Psychology
Office: Science IV, Room 202
Lab: Infant & Child Studies Project
Member of the International Society for Infant Studies, the Society for Research in
Child Development, the Eastern Psychological Association, the American Psychological
Association, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Vision
Sciences Society, and the Psychonomic Society.
Center for Cognitive and Psycholinguistic Sciences (CAPS)
Visual perception and memory and the development of abilities in these areas
Research in my lab is directed towards examination of the perceptual and memory abilities of infants and young children. Investigation of the perceptual and attention processes that influence the formation of visual memories and exploration of the structure and content of visual representations comprise the primary foci of my research. I subscribe to the view that processes from all three areas are highly interrelated, and I am currently investigating questions regarding the influence of basic perceptual processes on the representation of visual stimuli, and questions regarding the influence of attention on memory in both infants and children. I have previously studied the effects of viewpoint changes on the representation underlying adult object recognition. My current work includes investigations of both low-level perceptual development (investigating contour integration in infants and children) and higher level issues relating to the ability to transfer training from screen media (video, television, interactive touch screens) to a 'live', or 3D person-to-person interaction, a situation in which young children have been found to underperform to a surprising degree. This latter line of research is currently funded through the NSF.
Philosophy of Graduate Training:
Independence in action fosters independent thinking and novel approaches to research. Classroom instruction is important in graduate study, but it is direct experience in researching a topic, designing a study, collecting the data and presenting the research in a public forum that is the focus of graduate training. Students in my lab progress rapidly from a strongly supervised training period to independent research activities in the field; most of our data collection, while computer-driven, is conducted in the children's homes. Graduate students are viewed as junior colleagues and treated as such to the greatest extent possible. The generation of a research track record (publications and conference presentations) is emphasized as an important part of the graduate education.
Gerhardstein, P., Dickerson, K., Miller, S., & Hipp., D. (in press). Early operant learning is unaffected by socio-economic status and other demographic factors: A meta-analysis. Infant Behavior and Development.
Zack, E., Gerhardstein, P., Meltzoff, A.M., & Barr, R. (in press). 15-month-olds’ transfer of learning between touch screen and real-world displays: Language cures and cognitive load (special issue). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.
Zack, E., Barr, R., Gerhardstein, P., Dickerson, K., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2009). Infant imitation from television using novel touch-screen technology. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27, 13-26.
Baker, T,. Tse, J., Gerhardstein, P., & Adler, S. (2008). Contour integration by 6-month-old infants: Discrimination of distinct contour shapes. Vision Research, 48, 136-148.
Kraebel, West, & Gerhardstein (2007). The influence of training views on infant's long-term memory for simple 3D shapes. Developmental Psychobiology, 49, 406-420.