Natalie Brito

Columbia University

I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow with the Sackler Parent-Infant Project at Columbia University Medical Center. I received my PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Human Development and Public Policy from Georgetown University. I have published work on learning from media, parent-child interactions within juvenile justice facilities, and how early experience with multiple languages influences memory during infancy. Broadly, I am interested in how early environmental variations shape the trajectory of cognitive development and currently I am connecting my previous work in memory and bilingualism with research into socioeconomic disparities.


  • Georgetown University, Washington, DC2013

    PhD, Psychology (Concentration in Human Development and Public Policy)

    Advisor: Dr. Rachel Barr

  • College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA2008

    M.A., Experimental Psychology

    Advisor: Dr. Peter M. Vishton

  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA2005

    B.A., Psychology

    Advisor: Dr. Judy DeLoache


  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow2015-2016

    Sackler Institute Parent-Infant Project

    Columbia University Medical Center

  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow2013 - 2015

    Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars

    Columbia University

  • Visiting ResearcherSummer 2012

    Speech Acquisition & Perception Group, University of Pompeu Fabra

    Director: Dr. Nurìa Sebastian-Gallès

  • Statistics Consultant2009 - 2011

    WETA TV and Public Broadcasting Station, Arlington VA
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  • InstructorSpring 2011

    Infancy Seminar

    Georgetown University

  • Apprenticeship in Teaching Program2011

    Georgetown University Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship

    Georgetown University

  • Teaching Fellow2009-2011

    Research Methods & Statistics

    Georgetown University (Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2011)

  • Teaching FellowSpring 2009

    General Psychology

    Georgetown University

  • Teaching FellowFall 2008

    Theories of Personality

    Georgetown University

  • Teaching AssistantFall 2007

    Advanced Research Methods

    College of William and Mary

  • Teaching Assistant2006-2008

    Elementary Statistics

    College of William and Mary (Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008)

Socioeconomic Status and Neurocognitive Development

Understanding the effects of socioeconomic (SES) disparities on early child development is an important population health concern as over 1 in 5 American children live below the poverty line. Past studies suggest that cognitive deficits in children from lower-SES families may mediate later academic achievement. Examining SES disparities and its relation to neurocognitive development early in life is vital to knowing when and how to implement potential interventions.

Cognitive Flexibility in Bilingual Infants and Toddlers

An estimated 60% of children around the world grow up learning multiple languages as effortlessly as monolinguals acquiring a single language. Past studies have demonstrated a “bilingual advantage” on a select number of domain-general cognitive tasks across the lifespan. Enhanced abilities in these processes may increase a child’s capacity for learning and problem solving; studying the bilingual child early in life may offer the unique opportunity to empirically test questions regarding the interplay between language and cognition.

Memory From 2D Media

Television viewing and picture book reading are prevalent activities during toddlerhood. Past research has shown that toddlers can imitate from both books and video, even after long delays. Specific memories can be (1) maintained using reinstatement procedures or (2) forgotten memories can be reactivated with an aspect of the original learning experience. Knowing what infants and toddlers learn from 2D media can contribute to our understanding of how to best present information in order to optimize learning and retention.