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Frances Lobo

I try to understand moment-to-moment processes and how they relate to the development of children’s self-regulation and psychopathology.
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Frances Lobo

Frances Lobo, a fifth-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology, received her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Psychology from Duke University in 2013. During her undergraduate studies, she became interested in how children learn to self-regulate. Through her research, Frances recognized many children articulate ambitions that may have been introduced to them by their parents. Becoming more aware of parental influences, she was rapidly drawn to study coregulation, the moment-to-moment coordination of emotions, behaviors, and physiology between parent and child, which led to her interest in Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer’s work.

For her master’s thesis, under the mentorship of Dr. Lunkenheimer, Frances examined how the content of a parent-child interaction affects the relationship between parent-child coregulation and the child’s ability to self-regulate. She found that in the context of more positive interactions, coregulation predicted higher levels of self-regulation. However, in the context of more negative exchanges, coregulation predicted lower levels of child self-regulation, which highlights the importance of interaction content when considering whether coregulation has an adaptive or maladaptive function. For her dissertation, she is furthering that work and plans to examine how interaction content and coregulation of emotions during parent-child interactions might serve as the mechanism by which parent behaviors are associated with children’s later behavior problems. Additionally, she is working with Dr. Kristin Buss to better understand social anxiety in preschoolers through community-engaged research. One of Frances’ contributions to this work was analyzing pilot data to understand the mechanisms through which social anxiety develops. More recently, she has become increasingly interested in learning how to utilize biological measures such as cortisol and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, both often used to measure stress response.

An immigrant herself, Frances understands the difficulties of translating research findings into the immigrant population context. She plans to pursue a career in academia and would like to focus on the translation of her research findings to immigrant families. Furthermore, through her training as a Training Interdisciplinary Educational Scientists fellow, she is hoping to better explore how coregulation in the family context is related to teacher-child interactions and child development in the school context.