College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

Daniel Berry

  • Associate Professor

Daniel Berry

Areas of interest

Self-regulation of attention and emotion in childhood; interplay of experience, stress physiology, and self-regulation; longitudinal quantitative methods


EdD, 2010, Harvard University


Self-regulation of attention and emotion in childhood; interplay of experience, stress physiology, and self-regulation; longitudinal quantitative methods


The Bioecology, Self-Regulation and Learning Lab


My research focuses on clarifying the processes—mind, brain and environment—through which children’s experiences with their parents, teachers and peers shape their abilities to control their impulses, purposely maintain and shift their attention, and hold and manipulate information in mind. Broadly, this set of inter-related skills is referred to as "self-regulation."

A good deal of research indicates that these skills play a critical role in the way children understand and get along with others, as well as how they learn at home and school. In my lab, we are particularly interested in clarifying the experiential and physiological mechanisms through which these processes emerge.

Some questions that motivate my work and the work of my lab include:

  • What do we mean when we use the term self-regulation? What is it? And, in an evolutionary sense, why is it?
  • Why do some kids (and adults) show rapid and pronounced physiological and behavioral responses to challenge, whereas others do much less so?
  • When, how, and for whom do such physiological stress promote or undermine effective "real-time" regulation and learning?
  • What early experiences might calibrate these physiological and behavioral regulatory systems?
  • How do children’s social relationships at home and in their classrooms function to support or hinder these processes?
  • Collectively, how can we leverage this information to support kids at home and school—particularly those facing the environmental risks common to economic adversity?

Advising expectations and availability

If you are a prospective student who is interested in working in the Bioecology, Self-Regulation and Learning (BSL) Lab with Dr. Berry, click here to review his advising expectations. The document outlines Dr. Berry's expectations for students in their thinking, study, deliverables, and commitments.

Please note that for the 2024 admissions cycle Dr. Berry is looking to take on new Ph.D. students as their primary advisor. Please reach out to Dr. Berry via email if you are interested in learning more.



Berry, D. & Willoughby, M. T. (in press). On the practical interpretability of cross-lagged panel models: Re-visiting a developmental workhorse Child Development.

*Serdiouk, M., Berry, D., & Gest, S. D. (2016). Teacher-child relationships and friendships and peer victimization across the school year. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 46, 63-72.

Berry, D., Blair, C., Willoughby, M., Mills-Koonce, R., Granger, D., & The Family Life Project Key Investigators (2016). Maternal sensitivity and adrenocortical functioning across infancy and toddlerhood: Physiological adaptation to context? Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0028240

Berry, D., Blair, C., Willoughby, M., Garrett-Peters, P., Vernon-Feagans, L., Mills-Koonce, W. R., & Family Life Project Key Investigators. (2016). Household chaos and children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development in early childhood: Does childcare play a buffering role? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 34, 115-127.

Berry, D. Blair, C., Willoughby, M., Granger, D.A. & the Family Life Project Key Investigators (2016). Childcare and cortisol across infancy and toddlerhood: Poverty, peers, and developmental timing. Family Relations. 65(1), 51-72.

*Merrin, G., *Davis, J.P., Berry, D., D’Amico, E.J., & Duman, T. (2016). Longitudinal associations between substance use, criminal behavior, and environmental risk among emerging adults: A longitudinal within- and between-person latent variables analysis. Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Advance online publication. doi:

*Davis, J., *Merrin, G., Berry, D., Dumas, T., Hong, J.S., & Smith, D.C. (2016). Examining within-person and between-person effects of victimization and social risk on cannabis use among emerging adults in substance-use treatment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30, 52-63.

Sulik, M., Blair, C., Berry, D., Greenberg, M., & The Family Life Project Key Investigators (2015). Early parenting and the development of externalizing symptoms: Longitudinal mediation through children’s executive function. Child Development, 86(5), 1588-1603.

Berry, D., Blair, C., Ursache, A., Willoughby, M. T., & Granger, D. A. (2014). Early childcare, executive functioning, and the moderating role of early stress physiology. Developmental Psychology, 50, 1250 -1261.

Berry, D., Blair, C., Ursache, A., Willoughby, M., Garrett-Peters, P., Vernon-Feagans, L.,… (2014). Child care and cortisol across early childhood: Context matters. Developmental Psychology, 50, 514-525.

Berry, D., McCartney, K., Petrill, S., Deater-Deckard, K., & Blair, C. (2014). Gene–environment interaction between DRD4 7-repeat VNTR and early child-care experiences predicts self-regulation abilities in prekindergarten. Developmental Psychobiology, 56(3), 373-391.

Blair, C., Raver, C.C., Berry, D. & the Family Life Project Key Investigators (2014). Two approaches to estimating the effect of parenting on the development of executive function in early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 50, 554-565.

Belsky, J., Fraley, C., Pluess, M., Newman, D.A., Widaman, K. F., Helm, J. L., Rodkin, P., Berry, D. & Roisman, G. I. (2014). Differential susceptibility to effects of maternal sensitivity? A study of candidate plasticity genes. Development and Psychopathology.

Berry, D., Deater-Deckard, K., McCartney, K., Wang, Z., & Petrill, S. A. (2013). Gene–environment interaction between dopamine receptor D4 7-repeat polymorphism and early maternal sensitivity predicts inattention trajectories across middle childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 291-306.

Blair, C., Berry, D., Mills-Koonce, R., & Granger, D. (2013). Cumulative effects of early poverty on cortisol in young children: Moderation by autonomic nervous system activity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38, 2666-2675.

Kieffer, M. J., Vukovic, R. K., & Berry, D. (2013). Roles of attention shifting and inhibitory control in fourth-grade reading comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 48, 333-348.

Berry, D., Blair, C., Willoughby, M., Granger, D., & The Family Life Project Key Investigators (2012). Resting salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol in infancy and toddlerhood: Direct and indirect relations with executive functioning in early childhood and academic ability in pre-kindergarten. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37, 1700-1711.

Berry, D. (2012). Inhibitory control and teacher–child conflict: Reciprocal associations across the elementary-school years. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33(1), 66-76

Berry, D. & O’Connor, E. (2010). Behavioral risk, teacher-child relationships, and social skill development across middle childhood: A child-by-environment analysis of change. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 1-14.

McCartney, K. & Berry, D. (2005). Commentary: Gene-environment processes in task persistence. Trends in Cognitive Science, 9, 407-408.