Developmental Faculty

Core Faculty

Dev Psychology Faculty 2018

Lisa J. Crockett


Lisa Crockett's research focuses on adolescent development and adjustment. She investigates two primary issues: the processes leading to adolescent risk behavior, especially risky sexual behavior, and the linkages between parenting and adolescent adjustment in different ethnic groups.  She takes a biopsychosocial perspective on development, examining the effects of biological variables (e.g., puberty), individual attributes (e.g., self-regulation), and contextual factors (e.g., parenting, deviant peers) on adolescent behavior.  She also examines the implications of adolescents’ cognitions and behaviors for young adult outcomes.

Her current projects focus on (1) psychosocial functioning among Latino/s adolescents, with attention to ecological, cultural, familial, and social-cognitive predictors of risk behaviors and emotional adjustment; (2) longitudinal linkages between early temperament, social relationships, and adolescent externalizing behavior; and (3) individual and relationship factors influencing the outcomes of sexual experiences for older adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Crockett has published six books, including Rural Ethnic Minority Youth and Families in the United States. She served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and in currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Early Adolescence and Culture, Diversity, and Ethnic Minority Psychology.  She is a past-president of the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Jenna E. Finch

 (402) 472-5123

Dr. Finch is accepting new students for Fall 2020.

Dr. Finch directs the Learning and Development Research group. Her research explores how contextual factors influence children’s early development. Specifically, her work focuses on the development of children’s executive functions and motivation in home and school environments. Her past work has examined how family risk factors are linked to the development of children’s executive functions and social-emotional skills in both domestic and international settings. Currently, Dr. Finch is exploring how interactions with teachers and peers can support executive function development in early and middle childhood.

Anne Schutte

Dr. Schutte's research interests are in the area of cognitive development, with a particular focus on the development of spatial cognition and executive functioning. Her primary research program centers on the development of spatial working memory in early childhood. Her research is based on a dynamic systems model of cognition, the Dynamic Field Theory, which is a computational model of spatial cognition that uses dynamic neural fields. Dr. Schutte also studies how different environments, in particular natural environments and urban environments, influence cognition and cognitive development. She teaches courses in developmental psychology, cognitive development, child behavior and development, and dynamic systems theory.

Emeriti Faculty

Dennis Molfese

Dennis L. Molfese, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on the use of brain recording techniques to study the emerging relationships between brain development, language and cognitive processes. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. He is a Chancellor's Professor, Director of the Brain Imaging Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory there. He is the Editor-in-Chief for the scientific journal, Developmental Neuropsychology, and serves on the editorial boards for the Annals of Dyslexia, and for Eye and Brain. Dr. Molfese served as the Chair of a number of national panels in the U.S.A. on Learning Disabilities as well as on numerous NIH, NIMH and NSF grant review panels. He is co-director of one of 15 national laboratories in the U.S.A. that make up the National Institutes of Health Reading and Learning Disabilities Research Network. He is the recipient of a number of honors for outstanding research contributions from societies such as Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi and received the Kentucky Psychologist of the Year Award. A Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. His research has been continuously funded since 1975 through grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, The National Foundation/March of Dimes, the MacArthur Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, NATO, and NASA. Dr. Molfese has published some 150 books, journal articles, and book chapters on the relationship between developing brain functions, language and cognitive processes

Brian Wilcox

Brian Wilcox joined the faculty in 1994 and served as the director of the University's Center on Children, Families and the Law, and chair of UNL's Family Research and Policy Initiative. He received his Ph.D. in community psychology from the University of Texas in 1979. Prior to coming to Nebraska, he taught at the University of Virginia, served as a legislative assistant to Senator Bill Bradley, and was director of public policy for the American Psychological Association. His teaching and research interests focus broadly on the linkages between child development and public policy, including adolescent sexual behavior, child welfare, child care, and children and the media.