Melissa Clearfield

Psychology Professor and Laura & Carl Peterson Chair of Social Science at Whitman College
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Clearfield’s current line of research explores whether socio-economic status impacts attention and executive function in very young infants. Many studies have shown that school-aged children who grow up in poverty show deficits in executive function, which is a combination of attention, cognitive flexibility and problem solving. Across a number of studies, Clearfield has found that infants as young as six months of age growing up in low-income homes show signs of delays in these same areas. Clearfield is now partnering with Early Head Start programs around Washington State to test an intervention, called Play for Success, designed to boost these skills during the first year of life.

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