Daniel S. Messinger, Ph.D.

Professor
Coordinator, Developmental Psychology Program
Associate Director, Child Division (Developmental Program)
Director, Social Systems Informatics, Center for Computational Science
Director, UM Sib Smile
Cooper Fellow, University of Miami

Phone:
(305) 284-8443
Locator Code:
0751

 
About

Dr. Messinger investigates the temporal dynamics of communication to understand how infants and children develop in social relationships. His focus is social, emotional, and language development. Dr. Messinger is a behavioral imager who uses computer vision and other forms of machine learning to objectively measure what children do. He uses computational approaches including time-series analysis and network models to make sense of the big behavioral data that objective measures provide.

Dr. Messinger current work focuses on children with communication disorders. He conducts research with children affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and children with hearing loss. By understanding interaction, Dr. Messinger fosters pathways to healthy development. Specific projects include the emergence of secure attachment, sex differences in the development of autism, and language networks in inclusive classrooms.

Dr. Messinger is the author of over 120 scientific publications, which appear 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 mentor for 15 doctoral students (including one NSF Fellow and two NIH Fellows), and four postdocs. Dr. Messinger has experience leading longitudinal research initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences. He serves as Coordinator of the Developmental Psychology Program at the University of Miami, and loves talking to prospective developmental graduate students.

Career

Education

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
Research

Social, language and emotional development; modeling interaction using objectively measured big behavioral data; specific projects: autism, attachment, attention, preschool classrooms.  In addition to basic research on emotional and social development much of my current work focuses on children with communication disorders, both those affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and children who are deaf/hard of hearing (DHH). I employ computational modeling to understand social interaction and to foster pathways to healthy development. My computational work includes the development and validation of objective approaches to measuring behavior such as computer vision, as well as automated tracking of children’s movement to inform the current project’s social network analyses. As an expert in social and communicative development, I have specific expertise in the temporal dynamics of communication in developing social relationships.

 

Selected Publications

Messinger, D. S., E. B. Prince, M. Zheng, K. Martin, S. G. Mitsven, S. Huang, T. Stölzel, RiveroN. 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.

Messinger, D. S., Mattson, W. I., Todd, J. T., Gangi, D. N., Myers, N. D., & Bahrick, L. E. (2017). Temporal dependency and the structure of early looking. PLoS ONE, 12(1), e0169458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169458

Messinger, D. S., Young, G. S., Webb, S. J., Ozonoff, S., Bryson, S. E., Carter, A., Carver, L., Charman, T., Chawarska, K., Curtin, S., Dobkins, K., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Hutman, T., Iverson, J. M., Landa, R., Nelson, C. A., Stone, W. L., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Zwaigenbaum, L. (2015). Early sex differences are not autism-specific: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) study. Mol Autism, 6, 32. doi: 10.1186/s13229-015-0027-y

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