Daniel S. Messinger, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Child Division
Director, Early Play and Development Lab
Research Director, Linda Ray Intervention Center

(305) 284-8443
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Dr. Messinger is an interdisciplinary developmental psychologist, and the author of over 120 scientific publications appearing in journals such as PLoS ONE, Developmental Science, and Molecular Autism. He is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of scientists; and has served as primary advisor for 16 doctoral students (including one NSF Fellow and two NIH Fellows), and four postdocs. Dr. Messinger serves as Coordinator of the Developmental Psychology Program at the University of Miami, and loves talking to prospective developmental graduate students. He has experience leading longitudinal research initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences.


1985B.A. Independent (Psychology), Haverford College, Haverford, PA
1988 Human Development, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1994 Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, University of Utah

Professional Experience

1998 - 2003Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychology & Pediatrics, University of Miami
2003 - 2009Associate Professor, Departments of Psychology & Pediatrics, University of Miami
2009 - 2010Associate Professor of Psychology, Pediatrics, and Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Miami
2011 - 2014Professor of Psychology, Pediatrics, and Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Miami
2014 - Professor of Psychology (Developmental Area Head), Pediatrics, Music Engineering, and Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Miami

Honors & Acknowledgements

Provost’s Research Award, Univ. of Miami
Director, Social Systems Informatics, Center for Computational Science, Univ. of Miami
Executive Committee, NIH/Autism Speaks Baby Siblings Research Consortium 2010 – 2014 Cooper Fellow, University of Miami

Dr. Messinger investigates the temporal dynamics of communication to understand how infants and children’s social, emotional, and language development. He uses machine learning to paint an objective picture of children’s interaction and employs computational models to make sense of the resulting big behavioral data.

Dr. Messinger works with children affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), hearing loss, and poverty. By understanding interaction, he seeks to fosters pathways to healthy development. Specific projects include the emergence of secure attachment, objective measures of autistic behavior, and language networks in inclusive classrooms.

Selected Publications

Fasano, R. M., Perry, L. K., Zhang, Y., Vitale, L., Wang, J., Song, C., & Messinger, D. S. (2021).   A granular perspective on inclusion: Objectively measured interactions of preschoolers with and without autism.  Autism Research.

Martin, K. B., Haltigan, J. D., Ekas, N., Prince, E. B., & Messinger, D. S.   Attachment security differs by later autism spectrum disorder: A prospective study.  Developmental Science, n/a(n/a), e12953. doi:10.1111/desc.12953

Messinger, D. S., E. B. Prince, M. Zheng, K. Martin, S. G. Mitsven, S. Huang, T. Stölzel, C. Rivero-Fernandez, N. Johnson, U. Rudolph, L. K. Perry, B. Laursen & C. Song (2019)  Continuous measurement of dynamic classroom social interactions.  International Journal of Behavioral Development. 0165025418820708. 

Perry, L. K., Prince, E. B., Valtierra, A. M., Rivero-Fernandez, C., Ullery, M. A., Katz, L. F., Laursen, B., Messinger, D. S. (2018). A year in words: The dynamics and consequences of language experiences in an intervention classroom. PLoS ONE, 13(7), e0199893. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0199893

Martin, K. B., Hammal, Z., Ren, G., Cohn, J., Cassell, J., Ogihara, M., Ph.D. Britton, J.C., Gutierrez, A., Messinger, D. S. (2018). Objective measurement of head movement differences in children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Molecular Autism 9:14, 10.1186/s13229-018-0198-4.

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Social, language and emotional development. | Modeling interaction using objectively measured, big behavioral data. | Foci: autism, attachment, preschool classrooms.