Peter Gerhardstein


Professor of Psychology



PhD., University of Minnesota
McDonnell-Pew Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Arizona
Assistant Director, Rutgers' Early Learning Project, Rutgers University
Area: Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Phone: 607-777-4387
Office: Old Johnson Hall, Room 206

Curriculum vitae

Lab: Infant & Child Studies Project

Professional Activities:

Member of the International Society for Infant Studies, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Eastern Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Vision Sciences Society, and the Psychonomic Society.

Center for Cognitive and Psycholinguistic Sciences (CAPS)

Research Interests:

Visual perception and memory and the development of abilities in these areas

Research Description:

Investigation of the perceptual and attention processes that influence the formation of visual memories and exploration of the structure and content of visual representations comprise the primary foci of my research, and I subscribe to the view that processes from all of these areas are interrelated. My current research includes investigations of both low-level perceptual development (investigating the development of contour integration, orientation sensitivity and other low-level vision abilities in infants and children) and higher level issues relating to the ability to transfer training from screen media (video, television, interactive touch screens) to a 'live', or 3D person-to-person interaction, a situation in which young children have been found to underperform to a surprising degree. This second line of research is currently funded by the NSF. My lab is engaged in an on-going collaboration with the research program of Dr. Rachel Barr, at Georgetown University (see for more).

Philosophy of Graduate Training:

Independence in action fosters independent thinking and novel approaches to research. Classroom instruction is important in graduate study, but it is direct experience in researching a topic, designing a study, collecting the data and presenting the research in a public forum that is the focus of graduate training. Students in my lab progress rapidly from a strongly supervised training period to independent research activities in the field; most of our data collection, while computer-driven, is conducted in the children's homes. Graduate students are viewed as junior colleagues and treated as such to the greatest extent possible.  The generation of a research track record (publications and conference presentations) is emphasized as an important part of the graduate education.

Selected Publications:

Moser, A., Zimmerman, L., Dickerson, K., Grenell, A., Barr, R. &  Gerhardstein, P. (2015).  They can interact, but can they learn?  Transfer learning from touchscreens in toddlers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 137, 137-155.

Zimmerman, L., Barr, R., Moser, A., Grenell, A., Dickerson, K., Yao, Q., Gerhardstein, P. & Barr, R.  (2015). Can context facilitate learning and diminish the video deficit effect?  Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 561.

Taylor, G., Hipp, D., Moser, A., Dickerson, K. & Gerhardstein, P. (2014). The development of contour processing: Evidence from physiology and psychophysics. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1-22.

Hipp, D., Dickerson, K., Moser, A. & Gerhardstein, P. (2014). Age-related changes in visual contour integration: Implications for physiology from psychophysics. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 2390-1405.

Zack, E., Gerhardstein, P., Meltzoff, A.M., & Barr, R. (2013). 15-month-olds' transfer of learning between touch screen and real-world displays: Language cues and cognitive load. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 54, 20-25.

Dickerson, K., Gerhardstein, P., Zack, E. & Barr, R. (2013).  Age-related changes in learning across early childhood: A new imitation task. Developmental Psychobiology, 55, 719-732.

Gerhardstein, P., Tse, J., Dickerson, K., Hipp, D., & Moser, A. (2012). The human visual system uses a global closure mechanism. Vision Research, 71, 18-27.

Last Updated: 4/21/17