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Megan R. Gunnar


  • Associate Fellow
  • Child & Brain Development


Megan Gunnar’s research has focused on the effects of early deprivation on children’s social and emotional development.

Her research group has studied this area by observing the impact of orphanage-rearing in children adopted from orphanages, as well as children growing up under orphanage conditions. When possible, they also compare orphanage-reared children with those developing under conditions of neglect in their families of origin.

The concept of ‘biological embedding’ – developed in the CIFAR Human Development program, and now being studied more deeply in the Child & Brain Development program – laid the foundation for much of Gunnar’s interest in early deprivation. The goal of her work is to understand how and whether early experiences of deprivation alter the way children process social information, and influence the responsivity of their stress-sensitive physiological systems.


  • SRCD Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Child Development, 2009
  • APA G. Stanley Hall Award for Distinguished Contribution to Developmental Psychology, 2006
  • Distinguished McKnight University Professor, 1996
  • Wallace Professor of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education, 2002 to 2005

Relevant Publications

  • Hostinar, C. E., & Gunnar, M. R. (2013). Future directions in the study of social relationships as regulators of the HPA axis across development. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(4), 564-575.

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