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Lara Pierce

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Lara Pierce (she/her) is the director of the Pierce Experience & Development Lab and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at York University. She received her Ph.D. from McGill University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Lara uses developmental cognitive neuroscience tools to explore how variation in the early environment impacts the development of neural systems, particularly those supporting language. She aims to a) identify mechanisms by which specific variables (e.g., those associated with socioeconomic variation and early life stress) shape both early neurodevelopment and the early language environment, b) explore the role that individual differences play in the development of language and cognitive abilities, and c) uncover how variation in early neurodevelopment contributes to later learning. She uses tools such as electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), language recordings, and behavioural assessments in infants and children to address these questions. Lara is also a mom to the world’s most patient developmental science teacher and EEG pilot participant.


Department: Psychology
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Monachino, A. D., Lopez, K. L., Pierce, L. J., & Gabard-Durnam, L. J. (2022). The HAPPE plus Event-Related (HAPPE+ ER) Software: A Standardized Preprocessing Pipeline for Event-Related Potential Analyses. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 101140.

Elansary, M., Pierce, L., Wei, W., Charles McCoy, D., Zuckerman, B., & Nelson, C.A. (2022). Maternal Stress and Early Neurodevelopment: Exploring the Protective Role of Maternal Growth Mindset, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 43(2), e103-e109.

Barrero-Castillero, A., Pierce, L. J., Urbina-Johanson, S. A., Pirazzoli, L., Burris, H. H., & Nelson, C. A. (2022). Perinatal and early childhood biomarkers of psychosocial stress and adverse experiences. Pediatric Research, 1-10.

Pierce, L. J., Carmody Tague, E., & Nelson III, C. A. (2021). Maternal stress predicts neural responses during auditory statistical learning in 26-month-old children: An event-related potential study. Cognition, 104600.

Pierce, L. J., Reilly, E., & Nelson, C. A. (2020). Associations between maternal stress, early language behaviors, and infant electroencephalography during the first year of life. Journal of Child Language, 1-28.

Valdes, V., Pierce, L. J., Lane, C. J., Reilly, E. B., Jensen, S. K., Gharib, A., Levitt, P., Nelson, C.A., & Thompson, B. L. (2020). An exploratory study of predictors of cognition in two low-income samples of infants across the first year of life. Plos one, 15(9), e0238507.

Pierce, L. J., Thompson, B. L., Gharib, A., Schlueter, L., Reilly, E., Valdes, V., Roberts, S., Conroy, K., Levitt, P., Nelson, C.A. (2019). Association of Perceived Maternal Stress during the Perinatal Period and EEG in 2-month-old Infants. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(6), 561-570.

Pierce, L. J., Genesee, F., Delcenserie, A., & Morgan, G. (2017). Variations in phonological working memory: Linking early experiences and language learning outcomes. Applied Psycholinguistics, 38(6), 1265-1300.

Pierce, L. J., Genesee, F., Delcenserie, A., & Morgan, G. (2017). Towards a model of multiple paths to language learning: Response to commentaries. Applied Psycholinguistics, 38(6), 1351-1362.

Pierce, L. J., Chen, J-K., Delcenserie, A., Genesee, F. & Klein, D. (2015). Past experience shapes ongoing neural patterns for language. Nature Communications, 6, 10073.

Pierce, L. J., Klein, D., Chen, J. K., Delcenserie, A., & Genesee, F. (2014). Mapping the unconscious maintenance of a lost first language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(48), 17314-1731.