Dr. Nancy McElwain is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Dr. McElwain received a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Developmental Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her research focuses on social and emotional development during the first five years of life. In particular, Dr. McElwain investigates the dynamic early-life interactions between parents and children that shape children’s developing abilities to regulate stress. She adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines neuroscience, psychophysiology, linguistics, and developmental psychology.

Dr. McElwain teaches courses on behavioral research methods and social-emotional development, and she currently serves on the Editorial Board of the American Psychologist.

Lab website: https://publish.illinois.edu/socialdevlab/ 

Research Interests:

  • Physiological and neural correlates of infant-mother attachment

  • Emotion-related dynamics of parent-child interactions

  • Maternal speech prosody and children's stress regulation

  • Parental socialization of emotion

  • Family-friend linkages and children's social-emotional competence

Education

  • Ph.D., psychology, University of Michigan, 1999

 

Title

Cited By

Year

Classification of Infant Sleep/Wake States: Cross-Attention among Large Scale Pretrained Transformer Networks using Audio, ECG, and IMU Data

2023

Associations between infant amygdala functional connectivity and social engagement following a stressor: A preliminary investigation

2023

Classification of Infant Sleep/Wake States: Cross-Attention among Large Scale Pretrained Transformer Networks using Audio, ECG, and IMU Data

2023

Towards Robust Family-Infant Audio Analysis Based on Unsupervised Pretraining of Wav2vec 2.0 on Large-Scale Unlabeled Family Audio

2023

Functional neural network connectivity at 3 months predicts infant-mother dyadic flexibility during play at 6 months

2023

Interactive contribution of observed mother-youth emotional climate and youth physiology: A biopsychosocial approach to understanding youth coping with peer stress

1

2022

Toddler–mother attachment moderates adolescents’ behavioral and neural evaluation of trustworthiness

2

2022

Visualizations of Complex Sequences of Family-Infant Vocalizations Using Bag-of-Audio-Words Approach Based on Wav2vec 2.0 Features

2022

Zoom, zoom, baby! Assessing mother-infant interaction during the still face paradigm and infant language development via a virtual visit procedure

4

2022

Dynamic fluctuations in maternal cardiac vagal tone moderate moment-to-moment associations between children’s negative behavior and maternal emotional support.

3

2022

The role of early attachment and parental presence in adolescent behavioral and neurobiological regulation

12

2022

Mother–child mutually responsive orientation and real‐time physiological coordination

6

2021

Analysis of acoustic and voice quality features for the classification of infant and mother vocalizations

6

2021

A comparison study on infant-parent voice diarization

1

2021

Direct and indirect pathways from maternal and paternal empathy to young children’s socioemotional functioning.

10

2020

Dynamics of mother–adolescent and father–adolescent autonomy and control during a conflict discussion task.

29

2020

Perceiving facial affective ambiguity: A behavioral and neural comparison of adolescents and adults.

11

2020

Maternal emotion socialization in early childhood predicts adolescents’ amygdala-vmPFC functional connectivity to emotion faces.

15

2020

Alterations in adolescent dopaminergic systems as a function of early mother-toddler attachment: a prospective longitudinal examination

7

2019

Theory of mind as a mechanism linking mother–toddler relationship quality and child–friend interaction during the preschool years

7

2019

Infant brain activity predicts social flexibility, stress recovery in 1st year

Through the Infant Development Project, researchers from the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology in the Interdisciplinary Lab for Social Development explored how early brain activity relates to the flexibility of infants’ social interactions and their ability to recover from stress.
15-Nov-2023 03:05:29 PM EST

"If parents and care providers can monitor a child’s development with this device, early identification of a motor or language delay, behavioral disturbance, or sleep disturbance could be possible."

- Wearable tech offers up-close look at infant development

"Our end goal is to give back to the community and use LittleBeats as a tool for intervention and prevention. More broadly, it could be used as a way for parents to gain a detailed view of their child’s daily interactions."

- Wearable tech offers up-close look at infant development

"We want to use electrocardiogram, audio, and motion sensors together to provide a better, more precise detection of the child’s emotions or behavior than any one sensor could do by itself."

- Wearable tech offers up-close look at infant development

"We are attuned to the need for a diverse sample, both socioeconomically, racially, ethnically, and geographically. It is critical for child development research to study samples that reflect the entire population."

- Wearable tech offers up-close look at infant development

"A secure attachment is likely to develop when the parent can accept their children’s negative emotions and respond with comfort and support. When parents avoid dealing with their child's negative emotions, children may come to learn that these emotions are ‘bad.’ ... It’s okay for children to be upset and these are important, teachable moments when parents can help children deal with their emotions in an age-appropriate way. By doing so, children will be better prepared to engage in whatever comes their way later on.”

- How toddler-mother attachment impacts adolescent brain and behavior

"So much brain development happens during adolescence. Teens are much better able to consciously reflect on their experiences and emotions, which makes it a great time to intervene and change behavioral patterns that are not working well. Parents, as well as other adults such as teachers or coaches, can help children and adolescents learn how to engage with negative social cues or social situations through open discussion, role playing, and positive modeling."

- How toddler-mother attachment impacts adolescent brain and behavior

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