Elizabeth A. Simpson, Ph.D.

Asst. Professor
Director, Social Cognition Laboratory

Locator Code:

  • Dr. Simpson's research focuses on understanding infant social cognitive development, including the ultimate and proximate mechanisms that shape individual differences in social perception. She longitudinally studies human and nonhuman primate infant development, including studies of imitation and face perception. 
  • With a National Science Foundation Career Award, she is examining neonatal imitation as a predictor of human infant sociality using eye-tracking and salivary oxytocin assays.
  • Three graduate students are currently supervised by Dr. Simpson: Sarah Maylott (in her third year), Amy Ahn (joint-mentored by Dr. Daniel Messinger; in her second year), and Guangyu Zeng (in his first year). Dr. Simpson is accepting applications for a new graduate student in the fall of 2019. Information about the Developmental Psychology PhD Program can be found here.
  • Dr. Simpson directs a 9-week, paid, annual summer research program in developmental science, funded by the National Science Foundation. Current University of Miami undergraduate students are eligible to apply.  No previous research experience is necessary. Email Dr. Simpson for more information.
  • She is an Associate Editor for the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Her peer review and editorial contributions can be viewed on Publons.
  • To follow Dr. Simpson's research updates, visit her lab's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


2011Ph.D. Behavioral & Brain Sciences Program, Psychology University of Georgia
2008M.S. Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Psychology University of Georgia
2005B.A. Psychology University of Arizona

Professional Experience

2015 - Assistant Professor , University of Miami
2011 - 2015Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Parma, Italy

Honors & Acknowledgements

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2017-2022
Scholarly and Creative Activities Recognition Award, University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, 2017
Provost Research Award, University of Miami, 2017
Association for Psychological Science Rising Star, 2015
National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research Grant, Phase 1, 2019-2020
Provost Research Award, 2019-2020
University of Miami Student Supervisor of the Year 2019
  • Dr. Simpson's current research projects focus on understanding human infants' early social skills, including neonatal imitation, face perception, and gaze following. She primarily uses behavioral measures, including eye-tracking and face-to-face interaction tasks. 
  • In her Social Cognition Laboratory she is currently collecting data from human infants. Her research with nonhuman primate infants is done through collaborations.
  • For an updated list of publications, please see Dr. Simpson's Google Scholar.


Wooddell, L. J., Simpson, E. A., Murphy, A. M., Dettmer, A. M., & Paukner, A "Interindividual differences in neonatal sociality and emotionality predict juvenile social status in rhesus monkeys." Developmental Science. (In Press). [Link]

Meltzoff, A. N., Murray, L., Simpson, E. A., Heimann, M., Nagy, E., Nadel, J., Pederson, E. J., Brooks, R., Messinger, D., De Pascalis, L., Subiaul, F., Paukner, A., & Ferrari, P. F. "Eliciting imitation in early infancy." Developmental Science. (In Press). [Link]