Pamela Cole



Liberal Arts Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies
Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
210 Moore Building University Park, Pa 16802
(814) 863-1746


Ph. D., Pennsylvania State University, 1980

Professional Bio

Research Interests

Pamela Cole studies emotional development in early childhood with a particular interest in emotion regulation (the ability to modulate one's emotional reactions). The ability to regulate emotions in effective and flexible ways plays a role in the development of social, emotional, and cognitive competencies in children. Moreover, difficulties in emotion regulation have implications for the development of psychopathology. In previous work, she has shown that typically developing preschoolers can (a) self-modulate anger, (b) self-generate positive emotions even if a situation is difficult, and (c) self-generate effective strategies for regulating emotion. She has also shown that children who have difficulty doing these things may be at risk for developing later psychopathology. Current work is designed to understand how little children become competent emotion regulators as preschoolers and how parental emotion can aid or interfere with children’s emotion regulation development.

The Development of Self-Regulation Dynamics (DYN-o-SR) is an NICHD-funded collaborative study currently in the data collection stage.  This study uses behavioral and biological (ANS) measures to test a generalized model of self-regulation and its sensitivity to both angry and fearful emotions, to children as well as adults, to parent-child dyadic interaction, and to age-related differences between 30 to 60 months of age. We use advanced modeling techniques with the goal of demonstrating age-related change in emotion regulation dynamics.

The Processing of the Emotional Environment Project (PEEP) is an NIMH-funded collaborative study currently in the data analytic stage.  This study capitalizes on neuroimaging methods to test the sensitivity of 7- and 8-year-old children’s voice- and speech-sensitive neural network to their mother’s voice and whether that depends on the emotion in the mother’s voice.  We are also testing an innovative method for objective assessment of the natural emotional environment, using EAR (electronically activated recordings).

The Development of Toddlers Study (D.O.T.S.) is an NIMH-funded longitudinal study following 120 children from age 18 months to age 48 months, examining how their own skills and personalities and various aspects of their parents' lives influence the development of awareness, effectiveness, and flexibility in preschool age emotion regulation.  This study provides opportunities to ask new, related questions of archived data.

Ramsook, K. A., Cole, P. M., & Fields-Olivieri, M. A. (invited, accepted with minor revisions).  Emotional dysregulation.  S. Crowell & T. Beauchaine (Eds.), Handbook of emotional dysregulation.

Lunkenheimer, E., Cole, P. M., & Wang, J. (resubmitted).  How parent-child co-regulation, child self-regulation, and child responses to task success and failure influence persistence in preschool.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly

Lougheed, J. P., Benson, L., Cole, P. M., & Ram, N. (resubmitted).  Multilevel survival analysis: Studying the timing of children’s recurring behaviors.  Developmental Psychology.

Hajal, N. J., Teti, D. M., Cole, P. M., & Ram, N. (resubmitted).  Maternal emotion, motivation, and regulation during real-world parenting challenges.  Journal of Family Psychology.

Ramsook, K. A., Cole, P. M., & Fields-Olivieri, M. A. (resubmitted).  Emotional dysregulation.  Invited chapter for S. Crowell & T. Beauchaine (Eds.), Handbook of Emotional Dysregulation.

Cole, P. M., & Hollenstein, T. (Eds.) (in press).  Development of emotion regulation:  A matter of time. Routledge Press.

Cole, P. M., Lougheed, J., & Ram, N. (in press). Developmental change in emotion regulation dynamics in early childhood. In P. M. Cole & T. Hollenstein (Eds.), Development of emotion regulation:  A matter of time (pp. xx-xx). Routledge Press.

Cole, P. M. & Jacobs, A. E. (in press, on line). From children’s expressive control to emotion regulation:  Looking back, looking ahead.  European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Bendezú, J. J., Cole, P. M., Tan, P. Z., Armstrong, L. M., & Reitz, E. (2017, on line).  Child language and parenting antecedents and externalizing outcomes of emotion regulation pathways across early childhood: A person-centered approach.  Development and Psychopathology. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579417001675

Morales, S., Ram, N., Buss, K. A., Cole, P. M., Helm, J. L., & Chow, S-M. (2017, on line). Age-related changes in the dynamics of fear regulation in early childhood.  Developmental Science.

Lunkenheimer, E., Tiberio, S. S., Skoranski, A. M., Buss, K. A., & Cole, P. M. (2018).  Parent-child coregulation of parasympathetic processes varies by social context and risk for psychopathology. Psychophysiology, 55, DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12985

Zalewski, M. T., Goodman, S. H., Cole, P. M., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2017).  Clinical considerations when treating adults who are parents.  Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 24, 327-427.  DOI: 10.1111/cpsp.12209

Teti, D. M., Cole, P. M., Cabrera, N., Goodman, S. H., & McLoyd, V. C. (2017).  Supporting parents:  How six decades of parenting research can inform policy and best practice.  Social Policy Report, 30, 1-33.

Hajal, N. J., Cole, P. M., & Teti, D. M. (2017).  Maternal responses to infant distress: Linkages between specific emotions and neurophysiological processes.  Parenting: Science and Practice, 17, 200-224. DOI:  10.1080/15295192.2017.1336001

Lunkenheimer, E., Kemp, C., K., Lucas-Thompson, R. G., Cole, P. M., & Albrecht, E. C. (2017).  Assessing biobehavioural self-regulation and coregulation in early childhood: The Parent-Child Challenge Task.  Infant and Child Development, 26, 1-26. DOI:  10.1002/icd.1965

Chaplin, T. M., Klein, M. R., Cole, P. M., & Maugher, C. (2017). Developmental changes in emotion expression in frustrating situations:  The roles of context and gender.  Infant and Child Development. DOI: 10.1002/icd.2028

Cole, P. M., Bendezú, J. B., Chow, S-M., & Ram, N. (2017).  Dynamical systems modeling of early childhood self-regulation.  Emotion, 17, 684-699.  DOI: 10.1037/emo0000268

Fields-Olivieri, M. A., Cole, P. M., & Maggi, M. C. (2017).  Toddler emotional states, temperamental traits, and their interaction:  Associations with mothers’ and fathers’ parenting.  Journal of Research in Personality, 67, 106-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2016.05.007

Pamela Cole
Pamela Cole


Primary Investigator:

Program Areas:

Child Clinical