Leading the Vanguard: Georgene Troseth

Georgene Troseth smiling

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) member Georgene Troseth, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Psychology with Peabody College. Her specialty is child development and cognitive development and young children’s perception and symbolic reasoning. In recent years, Troseth has placed effort in studying the cognitive effect of screen time in small children.

In the interview below, Troseth shares what inspires her research in developmental disabilities, what she’s learned through her lab’s work, and how membership with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center helps her achieve her goals.

Tell me about your attraction to developmental disabilities research. Do you have a personal connection to disability?

My younger son’s language did not develop normally. Speech-language pathologists helped him over more than a decade, using strategies that I later realized were partly based on research done at Vanderbilt.

What are your current research interests and what problem(s) or challenge(s) does it address?

A team of us have been developing an e-book with a helpful character that supports parent-child conversation. This tool is designed to help parents foster their preschool children’s oral language and vocabulary development, which prepares children to learn efficiently when they get to school.

Do you have a story about a research participant or a breakthrough that illustrates the impact of your work?

In the first study we did with the e-book, parents in north Nashville and rural South Dakota quickly adopted the conversation strategies. They commented that the helper in the e-book reminded them to stop and talk rather than rush through the story, and showed them that their preschool children were smart and capable of answering a range of challenging questions.

What are your reasons for becoming a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) Investigator? How does the VKC enhance the work you do?

I love finding ongoing inspiration when I attend VKC workshops or attend lectures presented by visiting speakers from around the country who are experts in their respective fields.

Elizabeth Turner is associate director of VKC Communications.

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