Developmental and Learning Sciences Research Center

Research Center

An affiliate of The Arlitt Child & Family Research & Education Center

Opportunities with DLSRC

Learning Opportunities

  • Graduate Certificate in the Developmental & Learning Sciences
  • M.A. and Ph.D. concentrations in the Developmental & Learning Sciences

The Developmental & Learning Sciences (DLS) concentration prepares students to assume myriad responsibilities in the classroom, in higher education teaching and administrative settings, in community service agencies, or conducting educational research. DLS includes coursework on the study of life-span human development and cognitive development. Courses in human development offer an overall theoretical and practical examination of factors involved in the physical, behavioral, social-emotional, cross-cultural, biological, cognitive, and personality development of individuals. The influences of the family, the community, and social environments are also examined. Objectives are to educate participants to: 1) apply their knowledge in clinical and educational settings, and 2) conduct research that contributes to understanding children's development and learning using an interdisciplinary approach.


The mission of the Developmental & Learning Sciences Research Center (DLSRC) is to improve developmental and learning outcomes for children and adolescents by generating research, educational experiences, and applications using an emergent, interdisciplinary approach to understanding development and learning that includes the integration of theory and research from the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and education.

Research & Discovery

The DLSRC is designed to support synergistic activities between the Arlitt Center, Early Childhood Education & Human Development faculty, university-wide faculty (e.g., Psychology; Communication Sciences & Disorders), and Children's Hospital. Goals include engaging in research at the Arlitt Center, including the lab school and the PlayScape initiative, and its community of children and families, and collaborating on grant writing, and pedagogical innovation. The Center serves as an administrative home to the School of Education Undergraduate Research Participation Pool, recently created by Dr. Marcus Johnson.

Human Development Faculty

Rhonda Douglas Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Marcus L. Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Harry Prats, M.Ed., Professor

Current faculty and student research includes investigations into the neural correlates of mathematical cognition and disabilities using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology (Dr. Rhonda Brown, Lori Kroeger, M.Ed.,), on the cognitive, perceptual, and orthographic processes involved in the development of reading and fluency (Dr. Beth O'Brien), as well the interaction of motivational mechanisms and learning (Dr. Marcus Johnson), and effective learning environments for higher education students (Professor Harry Prats).

Community & Collaboration

In May 2011, the Center hosted a day-long Summit on Transactions between Research and Practice in the Developmental and Learning Sciences with researchers at UC and Children's Hospital, graduate students, and teachers and other members of the education community. Speakers included: Dr. Dennis Molfese, a co-director of the NIH Reading & Learning Disabilities Research Network and Director of the Brain Imaging Center and Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Nebraska; Dr. Victoria Molfese, Chancellor's Professor of Child, Youth & Family Studies at the University of Nebraska who spoke on their research in early identification of infants and young children at risk for developing language and reading disabilities and the effect of early intervention. Dr. Gregory K. Martin, Academic Dean and director of Pedagogical Growth and Development at the Cincinnati Country Day School and Dr. Jeremiah McCall, author of Gaming the Past: Using Video Games to Teach Secondary Students spoke on their work on 21st century teaching and learning, the changes nature of the classroom, the nature of play in education, and the use of games as learning tools.


  • Research Equipment: We are seeking funding to purchase Eye Tracking and Event-Related Potential (ERP) equipment. These technologies are vital to studying reading and math cognition, as well as other topics. For example, research using eye tracking has shown that in shared story book reading interactions with parents, preschoolers and parents are more likely to attend to pictures, rather than text, which can be addressed through rather simple educational efforts. Furthermore, ERP studies have shown that dyslexia can be detected in infancy, allowing for earlier identification and intervention. This equipment, as well as simple video equipment, would greatly expand our ability to research learning difficulties and successes.
  • Brain Scans: We are seeking funding to pay for brain scans using fMRI technology to study math disabilities and other topics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
  • Research Assistant Fellowships: We are seeking funding to support the recruitment of excellent students into our Ph.D. program that will contribute to research in DLS and serve as technicians for the equipment used in research.
  • DLS Teaching Resource Library: We are seeking funding to purchase demonstration materials (brain models, software, manikins, DVDs, etc.) for teaching Human Development and other Educational Psychology courses. The library will be housed at the Center.
  • Outreach: We are seeking funding to support future conferences between researchers and practitioners and to support a speaker's series that would bring national experts to UC to present their research in the field of DLS.

Contact Information

Developmental & Learning Sciences Research Center
The Arlitt Child & Family Research and Education Center

University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210105
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0105
Phone: 513-556-3622

Fax: 513-556-3764