UMass Boston

Edward Tronick

Areas of Expertise

Developmental Psychology and Neurophysiology


PhD, University of Wisconsin

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Ed Tronick is a developmental and clinical psychologist. Professor Tronick is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is director of the Child Development Unit, a research associate in Newborn Medicine, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, an associate professor at both the Graduate School of Education and the School of Public Health at Harvard.

He is a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, a past member of the Boston Process of Change Group and a Founder and faculty member of the Touchpoints program. With Kristie Brandt, Dorothy Richardson, Marilyn Davillier he has created an Infant-Parent Mental Health Post Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has developed the Newborn Behavioral Assessment Scale and the Touchpoints Project with T.B. Brazelton.

He developed the Still-face paradigm. With Barry Lester he developed the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Assessment Scale. He is currently working on developing norms for the neurobehavior of clinically health newborns and collaborating with Rosario Montirosso in Milan on a multi-NICU examination of developmental caretaking and its effects on preterm infants.

A set of studies on social referencing and negative affect are in process. He continues to do research on the effects of maternal depression and other affective disorders on infant and child social emotional development. In one study he is collaborating with Robert Ammerman on seriously depressed group and the effects of multiple interventions and in a second study the effect of a developmental relation intervention for post partum depression.

A third study is looking at women and their infants who have been hospitalized for depression. His current research focuses on infant memory for stress and epigenetic processes affecting behavior. The research utilizes the still-face and other stress paradigms and multiple measures including ERP and EEG, salivary cortisol and alpha amylaze, and skin conductance as well as behavior. A complimentary study is examining stress processes in rats and their relation to maternal behavior. A related study is looking at epigenetic changes in IUGR infants’ and their relation to neurobehavior and stress tolerance. 

He is developing measures based in dynamic systems theory for dyadic infant-mother (adult) interactions and their predictive relations to later outcome. For the state’s initiative to screen women for post partum depression he is working on epidemiologic data sets to understand the nature of the responses to questions related to depression and help seeking of women in different ethnic and racial groups. 

Relatedly studies are being carried out on the long term relation of stress hormones to SES, exposure to violence and other community factors and possible unique effects related to health disparities in ethnic and racial groups. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and 4 books, several hundred photographs and has appeared on national radio and television programs. His research is funded by NICHD and NSF.