May 26, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 19

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    Woodward awarded four-year grant from Merck Fund

    Amanda Woodward, Assistant Professor in Psychology, has received a $240,000, four-year grant to support her research on cognitive development in infancy and early language acquisition. The grant was awarded by the John Merck Fund, which each year selects nationally three Scholars in the Biology of Developmental Disabilities in Children.

    Woodward's work expands what is known about early learning ability and offers the prospect of understanding the conditions that lead to serious developmental disorders such as autism.

    Through a series of tests on infants, Woodward has established that children begin to develop reasoning skills at as young as seven months of age and are able to comprehend words as well at 13 months as they do at 18 months, when they begin to speak with an expanded vocabulary.

    Woodward began her research in cognitive development at Swarthmore College, where she received her B.A. in psychology in 1987. As a graduate student at Stanford, she focused on the study of reasoning in infants. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford in 1992 and spent a year studying as a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell before coming to Chicago last fall.

    The Scholars in the Biology of Developmental Disabilities in Children program was established in 1990 to promote research on the underlying neurobiology of children's developmental disabilities.