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2019 Hellman Fellow

Jennifer Silvers

Asking bold questions about the influences of early childhood experiences on later reasoning (UCLA)

Jennifer Silvers studies how children, adolescents, and adults regulate emotion using a combination of behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging behaviors. She leads UCLA’s SAND (Social, Affective, Neuroscience, and Development) Lab where she and a team of graduate students, research assistants, and collaborators consider how environments, relationships, and cognitions converge to influence emotional experiences, particularly in children and adolescents.

With her 2019 Hellman Fellows award she expanded her work examining how orphanage care shapes long-term brain development to include both emotional and cognitive outcomes. This research led to exciting new discoveries in risk and reward processing among adolescent decision-making, applicable across a variety of mental health problems commonly caused by early adversity. Data collected through this research enabled one student to receive a 3-year independent fellowship, and three others to use the data in their doctoral work. The Fellowship also created the opportunity for multiple publications and new project development.

When I submit my tenure materials next year, it will be a far stronger case because of being a Hellman Fellow.

– Jennifer Silvers, Ph.D.

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