Developmental Science

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Edited By: Charles A. Nelson, Michelle de Haan, and Paul C. Quinn

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Online ISSN: 1467-7687

Mark H Johnson

Mark H JohnsonResearch interests

The focus of my research is Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, the study of functional brain development over the first years of life. The key questions that motivate my research concern how specialized cognitive functions emerge within particular brain regions (such as the cerebral cortex) during development. Within this approach my research focuses on the perception and cognition of the social and physical world over the early years. We adopt an "interactive specialisation" framework for thinking about human functional brain development (see my book “Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience”, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, for a summary of this). Much of my research is conducted collaboratively with other members of the Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development, though we also collaborate with other labs in the UK, US, Europe, and Japan.

Curriculum vitae
I chose to conduct my undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh, since I could combine courses from basic biology with those on psychology. During these studies I became particularly fascinated with developmental biology and developmental psychology. I was struck, however, with how separate these two disciplines were at that time. Then, as a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, I found a natural home for my interest in relating brain development, and early experience, to behavioural development. I also learned about the necessity of using multiple converging methodologies from genetics, neuroscience, and psychology, to address these issues. After completing my PhD I was fortunate to join the newly formed MRC Cognitive Development Unit in London. Here I developed my interest in studying human infants, and enjoyed the freedom of postdoctoral years to develop and expand theoretical ideas on the development of perception, especially face processing. A logical consequence of this work was to understand the mechanisms that underlie the looking-time based behavioural measures used to study human infants. This took me to spend an enjoyable year at the University of Oregon, Eugene. This productive time advanced my interest in the development of visual orienting and attention, and further reinforced to me the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to development.

In 1991 I joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) as Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. At CMU my growing interest in neural network and connectionist models was nourished, and I benefited from some outstanding colleagues and students. In 1994 I returned to London to re-join the MRC Cognitive Development Unit as a Senior Research Scientist. , before taking up the chair of Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London, in 1997 and establishing the new "Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development" (CBCD). Since 1997 the CBCD has expanded rapidly and in 2006 some members of the CBCD moved into a new purpose-built building (the Henry Wellcome Building), designed around our scientific needs. In recent years I have been fortunate to receive recognition from my peers (in 2006 the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, in 2008 the British Psychological Society President's Award, in 2009 the Experimental Psychology Society Mid-Career Award, and in 2011 elected as Fellow of the British Academy).

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Mark H. Johnson - Publications by Wiley-Blackwell

British Journal of Developmental PsychologyThe shared signal hypothesis: Effects of emotion-gaze congruency in infant and adult visual preferences
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Silvia Rigato, Enrica Menon, Teresa Farroni and Mark H. Johnson
Article first published online : 2 NOV 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02069.x
Abstract | Full Article (HTML) | PDF(318K) | References

Infant and Child DevelopmentDirect gaze may modulate face recognition in newborns
Infant and Child Development
Volume 20, Issue 1, January/February 2011, Pages: 20–34, Silvia Rigato, Enrica Menon, Mark H. Johnson, Dino Faraguna and Teresa Farroni
Article first published online : 6 JUL 2010, DOI: 10.1002/icd.684
Abstract | Full Article (HTML) | PDF(300K) | References

Developmental Cognitive NeuroscienceDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 3rd Edition
Mark H. Johnson (Birkbeck, University of London, UK) with
Michelle de Haan (Institute of Child Health, University College London, UK)

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3086-1
308 pages
September 2010, ©2010, Wiley-Blackwell

Brain Development and CognitionBrain Development and Cognition: A Reader, 2nd Edition
Mark H. Johnson (Editor) (Birkbeck College, London),
Yuko Munakata (Editor) (University of Denver),
Rick O. Gilmore (Editor) (Penn State University)

ISBN: 978-0-631-21737-4
560 pages
May 2002, ©2002, Wiley-Blackwell

Biology and Cognitive Development: The Case of Face Recognition
Mark H. Johnson

ISBN: 978-0-631-17454-7
180 pages
September 1991, Wiley-Blackwell