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Seth Pollak, Ph.D.

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Seth Pollak, Ph.D.


Dr. Pollak is a Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of Psychology and a Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Anthropology, and Public Affairs. His research focuses on the influences of social risk factors on children’s brain and behavioral development, with a particular focus on emotions and children’s health. A central goal of his work is to understand how the quantity and quality of early social experiences in children’s lives influences how children think about and understand their own and others’ emotions. He approaches this question by examining the development of human brain structure and function.

Dr. Pollak earned Ph.D.s from the University of Rochester in Child Clinical Psychology and in Brain and Cognitive Sciences before completing a clinical internship in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Toronto. He has written numerous chapters and scientific articles. Dr. Pollak has served on the editorial boards of several leading journals, including Developmental Psychology, Development and Psychopathology, and Emotion. He is also a member of the child development grant review board for the National Institutes of Heath. His research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Awards and Credentials

  1. National Institute of Mental Health fellowship in developmental psychopathology
  2. National Down Syndrome Society’s Scientific Scholar Award
  3. Boyd-McCandless Award for Distinguished Contributions to Child Development
  4. American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Early Career Award in Developmental Psychology
  5. Fellow of the Society for Psychological Science

Related Links

Recommended Reading List

  • “The Emergence of Emotion: Experience, Development, and Biology.” Pollak, S.D. (2009). Meeting the Challenge of Translational Research in Child Psychology, Volume 35. Wiley.
  • “Mechanisms Linking Early Experience and the Emergence of Emotions: Illustrations from the Study of Maltreated Children.” Pollak, S.D., (2008). Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17.
  • “Early Childhood Stress is Associated with Elevated Antibody Levels to Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1.” Shirtcliff, E.A., et al. (2009). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 106.

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