Vita

Melissa W. Clearfield

Department of Psychology
Whitman College 345 Boyer Ave.
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 522-4427
clearfmw@whitman.edu

Current Position

2007-present Associate Professor, Whitman College

2001-2007 Assistant Professor, Whitman College

Education

Ph.D. Indiana University, May 2001, Developmental Psychology

        Minor: Behavioral Neuroscience and Kinesiology

B.A. Middlebury College, May 1995, Psychology

Academic and Professional Experience

  • Jan-Aug 2006: Visiting Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University
  • 2005-present: Consultant, National Institute of Children’s Health and Development (NICHD) grant (#2 R37 HD22830-20)
  • 1996-2001: Research Assistant, Motor Development Lab, Indiana University
  • 1995-1996: Research Coordinator, Adolescent Parenting Project, University of Notre Dame
  • 1994-1995: Research Assistant, Infant Development Lab, Carnegie Mellon University
  • 1991-1994: Research Assistant, Infant Perception/Action Lab, Middlebury College

Honors, Awards and Grants

2008: Louis B. Perry Summer Research Grant, Whitman College

2007: G. Thomas Edwards Award for Excellence in Teaching & Scholarship

2005: Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers Award

2005: Louis B. Perry Summer Research Grant, Whitman College

2003: Louis B. Perry Summer Research Grant, Whitman College

2000: College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Recognition Award, Indiana University

1999: J.R. Kantor Graduate Award, College of Arts & Sciences, Indiana University

1997: Summer Research Incentive Fellowship, Indiana University

Professional Service

  • Ad hoc reviewer for Experimental Psychology: General; Infancy; Cognitive Development; Journal of Experimental Child Psychology; Developmental Science; Developmental Psychology
  • Reviewer for National Science Foundation Grant Proposals
  • Reviewer for Society in Research in Child Development (SRCD) biennial meeting, Infancy: Physical and Cognitive Processes Panel, 2005 and 2003
  • Reviewer for John Wiley and Sons Publishers new child development textbook
  • Reviewer for Worth Publishers (Siegler, DeLoache & Eisenberg How Children Develop)
  • Reviewer for International Conference on Infant Studies, Physical and Cognitive Development Panel, 2002

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • International Society on Infant Studies
  • American Psychological Society
  • American Psychological Association

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Clearfield, M.W. (in press). Learning to walk changes infants’ social interactions. Infant Behavior and Development.

Clearfield, M.W., Diedrich, F., Dineva, E., Smith, L.B., & Thelen, E. (2009). Cue salience and memory in infant perseverative reaching: Tests of the Dynamic Field Model. Developmental Science, 12(1), 26-40.

Clearfield, M.W., Mullen, M.N. & Osborne, C.N. (2008). Learning by looking: Infants’ social looking behavior across the transition from crawling to walking. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 100, 297-307.

Feng J., Spencer J.P., Schöner G., Clearfield M.W., & Thelen, E. (2007). A Novel Technology for Investigating the Dynamics of Infant Perseverative Reaching. Behavior Research Methods, 39(4), 911-919.

Clearfield, M.W., Feng, J., & Thelen, E. (2007). The development of reaching across the first year in twins of known placental type. Motor Control, 11(1), 29-53.

Clearfield, M. W., Smith, L.B., Diedrich, F. J. & Thelen, E. (2006). Young infants reach correctly on the A-not-B task: On the development of stability and perseveration. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 435-444.

Clearfield, M.W. & Nelson, N.M. (2006). Sex differences in mothers’ speech and play behavior with 6-, 9-, and 14-month-old infants. Sex Roles, 54(1-2), 127-137.

Clearfield, M.W. & Westfahl, S. M-C. (2006). Familiarization in infants’ perception of addition problems. Journal of Cognition and Development, 7(1), 27-43.

Clearfield, M.W. (2004). The role of crawling and walking experience in infant spatial memory. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 89(3), 214-241.

Clearfield, M.W. (2004). Infants’ enumeration of dynamic displays. Cognitive Development, 19(3), 309-324.

Clearfield, M.W. & Mix, K.S. (2001). Infant use continuous quantity — not number — to discriminate small visual sets. Journal of Cognition and Development, 2(3), 243-260.

Adolph, K.E., Eppler, M.A., Marin, L., Weise, I.B., and Clearfield, M.W. (2000). Exploration in the service of locomotion. Infant Behavior and Development, 23, 441-460.

Clearfield, M.W. & Mix, K.S. (1999). Number versus contour length in infants’ discrimination of small visual sets. Psychological Science, 10(5), 408-411.

Invited Chapters

Clearfield, M.W. (forthcoming). Infant Learning and Development. In N. Seel (Ed.). Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer Science Press.

Clearfield, M.W. (2006). A Dynamic Account of Infant Looking Behavior in Small and Large Number Tasks. In M.A. Vanchevsky (Ed.), Focus on Cognitive Psychology Research. Nova Science Publishers, 59-86.

Spencer, J.P., Clearfield, M., Corbetta, D., Ulrich, B., Buchanan, P., & Schoner, G. (2006). Moving towards a grand theory of development: In memory of Esther Thelen. Child Development, 77 (6), 1521-1538.

Clearfield, M.W. & Thelen, E. (2001). Stability and flexibility in the acquisition of skilled movement. In the Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, C. Nelson & M. Luciano (Eds.).

Select Conference Presentations (all are peer-reviewed)

Munz, M.A. & Clearfield, M.W. (2010). Identifying the Onset of Attention Delays in Infants in Poverty. Poster presented at the Conference on Human Development, New York, NY.

Niman, L.C. & Clearfield, M.W. (2010). Cognitive Flexibility in Infants in Poverty. Poster presented at the Conference on Human Development, New York, NY.

Clearfield, M.W., Bushnell, E., Baxter, K. & Fitzgerald, J. (April, 2009). New walkers’ responses to the challenges of carrying objects. Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Denver, CO.

Clearfield, M.W. & Fisher-Thomspon, D. (April, 2009). To look or not to look: The structure of looking and looking away in infant visual attention tasks. Poster presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Denver, CO.

Clearfield, M.W., Bushnell, E., Baxter, K. & Fitzgerald, J. (2008). Look mom, no hands! The impact of learning to walk on carrying objects. Poster presented at the Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Clearfield, M.W. (2007). Social learning in motion. Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, MA.

Clearfield, M.W., Smith, L.B. & Thelen, E. (2006). Perseveration is a developmental achievement: Lessons from the A-not-B task. Paper presented at the International Conference on Developmental Learning, Bloomington, IN.

Clearfield, M.W. & Brey, E.L. (2006). The Effect of Walking Onset on Infant Temperament: A Longitudinal Study. Poster presented at the Conference on Human Development, Lousiville, KY.

Clearfield, M.W. & Osborne, C.N. (2006). Learning to walk changes infants’ social looking behavior. Poster presented at the Conference on Human Development, Lousiville, KY.

Dineva, E. & Clearfield, M.W. (2005). The dynamics of memory for transient cues in the A-not-B task. Poster presented at the Cognitive Development Society Conference, San Diego, CA.

Clearfield, M., Diedrich, F., Smith, L.B., & Schöner, G. (2005, April). From action to embodied cognition: Bridging the great divide. In J.P. Spencer & G. Schöner (Chairs), Moving toward a grand theory of development: In memory of Esther Thelen. Presidential Address presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.

Corbetta, D., Clearfield, M., Gormley, D., Spencer, J.P., & Galloway, J.C. (2005, April). The transition to reaching: Mapping intentions to intrinsic dynamics. In J.P. Spencer & G. Schöner (Chairs), Moving toward a grand theory of development: In memory of Esther Thelen. Presidential Address presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.

Mullen, M.K., Osborne, C.N. & Clearfield, M.W. (2005). Infants’ social referencing in the context of social looking behaviors. Poster presented at the Biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.

Nelson, N.M., Karas, E.M. & Clearfield, M.W. (2005). Infant gender affects mothers’ speech and interaction style at 6, 9, and 14 months. Poster presented at the Biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.

Clearfield, M.W., Morgan, S., Reder, M., Fabritius, S., Halprin, J.A., Harring, K., Neylon, M.P., & Wixon, K. (2004). Models for Faculty Development: Teaching and Learning Centers at Small Colleges. Symposium presented at Annual meeting of Professional and Organizational Development, Montreal, Canada.

Clearfield, M.W., Mullen, M.K., & Nelson, N.M. (2004). The effects of locomotor posture on infants’ social and exploratory behaviors. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Chicago, IL.

Clearfield, M.W.& Westfahl, S.M-C. (2004). Familiarization in infants’ perception of addition problems. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Chicago, IL.

Clearfield, M.W. (2003). The role of rhythm in infants’ enumeration of events. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL.

Neel, K.S. & Clearfield, M.W. (2003). Age-related changes in infants’ social referencing of mothers and strangers. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL.

Invited Talks

Brain, Behavior and Cognition Series, Tufts University, March 2009: The nature vs nurture debate is over: A dynamic systems approach to infant learning.

Cognitive Science Series, California State University, Fresno, March 2006: First steps: The impact of learning to walk on spatial memory and social interactions.