Andrew N. Meltzoff

Andrew N. Meltzoff, PhD, holds the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Chair at the University of Washington, where he is the Co-Director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) and a professor of psychology. Dr. Meltzoff is a Board Member of ZERO TO THREE.

Andrew N. Meltzoff

Co-Director, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS)

Contributions to the Field

Dr. Meltzoff is a pioneer in the study of infant learning and social understanding. His discoveries about infant imitation have shaped the understanding of learning mechanisms in the first 3 years of life. His research connecting early social-cognitive and language learning has illuminated the origins of human speech and language. In addition, Meltzoff has studied how infants connect self and other, infant gaze following, and the origins of theory of mind. Meltzoff uses infant brain measures (e.g., EEG, MEG) to discover neural mechanisms underlying social-emotional and cognitive development. He has established an outreach division at I-LABS that is dedicated to disseminating research findings and combining research and practice to improve the lives of infants and caretakers.

Affiliations

  • University of Washington Center for Human Development and Disabilities; Department of Psychiatry AND Behavioral Sciences; and College of Education

Current Research

Dr. Meltzoff’s recent work focuses on infants’ sense of touch. He and his colleagues are delineating “body maps” in the infant brain and studying how these neural body maps underlie interpersonal engagement and early skill development. At a more theoretical level, Dr. Meltzoff is working on a theory of infant social-cognition called the “Like-Me” framework. This view holds that infants are interested in the similarities between self and other starting in the first years of life. At first this “like-me” perception takes place at the level of bodies and actions, and then later it encompasses more abstract levels. Dr. Meltzoff seeks to design infant brain measures so that they can complement behavioral observations and jointly provide a more comprehensive picture of development across the first 3 years of life than either taken alone.

Recent Honors/Awards/Recognition/Books Published

Dr. Meltzoff has published more than 200 scientific papers and co-authored three books including The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind. He is the recipient of prizes including the prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health for outstanding research and the Kenneth Craik Research Award from Cambridge University and the Kurt Koffka Medal from Germany. Dr. Meltzoff has been invited to present his research to the U.S. Congress, OECD, UNESCO, at the Vatican, and to many national and international media outlets. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and doctorate from Oxford.