News Story

Natalie Brito successfully defends doctoral dissertation

Dr. Natalie Brito and Dr. Rachel Barr

May 6, 2013 – On April 11, 2013 Dr. Natalie Brito successfully defended her dissertation, “The Influence of Early Environmental Variation on Memory Development: Examining Bilingualism During Infancy.” Written under the mentorship of Rachel Barr, Associate Professor of Psychology, her dissertation examines differences in memory generalization between monolingual and bilingual infants. She found that bilingual infants tended to outperform monolingual infants in memory tasks that required the infants to generalize remembered lessons to a different context. “Studying bilingualism early in development, while the infant is still becoming proficient with both languages, could lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved,” Brito concluded. “These findings have important implications for our understanding of how early environmental variations shape the trajectory of memory development.”

Natalie will now move to New York to pursue a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship with Kim Noble in the Neurocognition Early Experience and Development (NEED) Laboratory at Columbia University to examine whether Socio-economic Status (SES) has an impact on bilingual cognitive advantages and to explore the neuroimaging correlates of these results in bilingual infants.

Congratulations, Dr. Brito!