Elizabeth A. Simpson, Ph.D.

Assoc. Professor
Director, Social Cognition Laboratory

(602) 571-9697
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  • 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.
  • With a National Institutes of Health SBIR Award she is developing an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) based neurological screening method to detect increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other neurological conditions in newborns.
  • Two graduate students are currently supervised by Dr. Simpson:  Guangyu Zeng (joined in 2018), and Tiffany Leung (joined in 2020). Information about the Developmental Psychology PhD Program can be found here. Dr. Simpson will be considering accepting new graduate students to start in the fall of 2023.
  • 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, Scientific Reports, and Frontiers in Neuroscience - Neurodevelopment. 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

2020 - Associate Professor, University of Miami
2015 - 2020Assistant Professor , University of Miami
2011 - 2015Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Parma, Italy

Honors & Acknowledgements

James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award, 2021-2022
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.

Selected Publications

Simpson, E. A., Maylott, S. E., Mitsven, S. G., Zeng, G., & Jakobsen, K. V. (2020). Face detection in 2-to 6-month-old infants is influenced by gaze direction and species. Developmental Science, 23(2), e12902.

Simpson, E. A., Robinson, L. M., & Paukner, A. (2019). Infant rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) personality and subjective well-being. PLoS ONE, 14(12), e0226747.