Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Jessica Church-Lang


Assistant ProfessorPh.D., Washington University at St. Louis

Jessica Church-Lang

Contact

Interests


brain networks, development of task control, development of reading, developmental disorders, neuroimaging, puberty

Biography


Dr. Church-Lang grew up in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, got her B.A. at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008. She has a strong interest in how cognitive processes develop over age, and in how research on atypical development illuminates the vulnerable aspects of cognitive development pathways.

Research in the lab currently focuses on the development of executive functions and reading in late childhood and early adolescence. Dr. Church-Lang is head of the Austin neuroimaging site of the Texas Learning Disabilities Research Center project on reading intervention and brain change (texasldcenter.org). We’re particularly focused on how networks of the brain involved in task control relate to academic skill development and skill improvement over time.  As part of the reading-intervention project, as well as in our other research efforts in children with attention and learning disorders, we are focusing on brain and behavioral changes over two time periods: over the course of an intervention, and over the course of early puberty. To address these questions, we use behavioral methods such as cognitive tests (where we measure response times, accuracy on tasks, or eye movements), actigraphy (where we measure activity levels during sleep and wake), pubertal hormone assessments, neuropsychological assessments, neuroimaging (fMRI, resting-state fcMRI), and studies of patient populations (e.g., children with Tourette syndrome, ADHD, or dyslexia).

Courses


PSY 333D • Intro To Developmental Psych

41620 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM

Physical, social, and cognitive development in humans. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Psychology 304 and 333D may not both be counted. Psychology 333D and Women's and Gender Studies 345 (Topic 6: Introduction to Developmental Psychology) may not both be counted. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

PSY 339 • Behavior Problems Of Children

41640 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.104

Adjustment difficulties during childhood and adolescence; causation and treatment. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

PSY 333D • Intro To Developmental Psych

42785 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM

Physical, social, and cognitive development in humans. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Psychology 304 and 333D may not both be counted. Psychology 333D and Women's and Gender Studies 345 (Topic 6: Introduction to Developmental Psychology) may not both be counted. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

PSY 339 • Behavior Problems Of Children

43125 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM NOA 1.126

Adjustment difficulties during childhood and adolescence; causation and treatment. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

PSY 394S • Current Tpcs In Devel Psych

42514 • Fall 2015
Meets M 12:00PM-3:00PM SEA 1.332

Seminars in Developmental Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

 

PSY 394S • Stding Brain: Findgs Dev

42890 • Spring 2015
Meets M 9:00AM-12:00PM SEA 5.106

Seminars in Developmental Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

 

PSY 339 • Behavior Problems Of Children

43700 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM NOA 1.126

Adjustment difficulties during childhood and adolescence; causation and treatment. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

PSY 304 • Intro To Child Psychology

43895 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM NOA 1.126

General introduction to physical, social, and cognitive development from conception onward. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Psychology 304 and 333D may not both be counted. Prerequisite: Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C.

PSY 339 • Behavior Problems Of Children

43745 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM NOA 1.126

Adjustment difficulties during childhood and adolescence; causation and treatment. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

PSY 304 • Intro To Child Psychology

43250 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM NOA 1.124

This course is designed to introduce the field of Child Psychology and encourage students to think like a developmental psychologist. I think this is valuable for many reasons. First, at least 80% of you will become parents someday, and understanding how a child develops can give you insight and aid in effective parenting. Second, we were all children once, and learning about how a child grows to adulthood teached us about what it is to be human. Third, the media and popular opinion portrayals of parenting and of science are often far off the mark, and learning more about child development helps you to critically evaluate new information and claims. Finally, fourth, you will hopefully be able to apply the information from this course to both everyday life and the policies you endorse as a citizen.

PSY 304 • Intro To Child Psychology

43160 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM NOA 1.124

This course is designed to introduce the field of Child Psychology and encourage students to think like a developmental psychologist. I think this is valuable for many reasons. First, at least 80% of you will become parents someday, and understanding how a child develops can give you insight and aid in effective parenting. Second, we were all children once, and learning about how a child grows to adulthood teached us about what it is to be human. Third, the media and popular opinion portrayals of parenting and of science are often far off the mark, and learning more about child development helps you to critically evaluate new information and claims. Finally, fourth, you will hopefully be able to apply the information from this course to both everyday life and the policies you endorse as a citizen.

Publications


2019

Church J.A., Cirino P.T., Miciak J., Juranek J., Vaughn S., Fletcher J.M. (Accepted). Cognitive, intervention, and neuroimaging perspectives on executive function in children with reading disabilities. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.

Cirino P.T., Church, J.A., Miciak, J., Fletcher, J.M. The Role of Executive Functions in Reading Development, Reading Disability, and Intervention Response. Book Chapter. All About Language: Science, Theory, and Practice. Brooks Publishing Co.

Nugiel, T., Roe, M.A., Taylor, W.P., Cirino, P.T., Vaughn, S.R., Fletcher, J.M., Juranek, J., & Church, J.A. (2019). Brain activity in struggling readers before intervention relates to future reading gains. Cortex.

Engelhardt, L.E., Harden, K.P., Tucker-Drob, E.M., & Church, J.A. (2019). The neural architecture of executive functions is established by middle childhood. NeuroImage, 185, 479-489.

 

2018

Roe, M.A., Martinez, J.E., Mumford, J.A., Taylor, W.P., Cirino, P.T., Fletcher, J.M., Juranek, J., Church, J.A. (2018). Control Engagement During Sentence and Inhibition fMRI Tasks in Children With Reading DifficultiesCerebral Cortex, 28(10), 3697-3710. bhy170, https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy170

Engelhardt, L.E., Church, J.A., Harden, K.P., & Tucker-Drob, E.M. (2018). Accounting for the shared environment in cognitive abilities and academic achievement with measured socioecological contexts. Developmental Science, e12699.

Martinez J.E., Mack M.L., Bauer J.R., Roe M.A., Church J.A.  (2018). Perceptual biases during cued task switching relate to decision process differences between children and adults. Accepted at Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(10), 1603-1618.

 

2017

Bauer J.R.*, Martinez J.E.*, Roe M.A., Church J.A. Consistent performance differences between children and adults despite manipulation of cue-target variables. 2017 in press, Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental. *Co-first authors Open Science Framework of the dataset

Engelhardt L.E., Roe M.A., Juranek J., DeMaster D., Harden K.P., Tucker-Drob E.M., Church J.A. Children’s head motion during fMRI tasks is heritable and stable over time. 2017 Jun;25:58-68. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.01.011. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Church J.A., Bunge S.A., Petersen S.E., Schlaggar B.L. Preparatory engagement of cognitive control networks increases late in childhood. Cerebral Cortex. 2017 Mar 1;27(3):2139-2153. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw046

Tucker-Drob E.M., Grotzinger A., Briley D.A., Engelhardt L.E., Mann F.D., Patterson M., Kirschbaum C., Adam E.K., Church J.A., Tackett J.L., Harden K.P. Genetic influences on hormonal markers of chronic HPA function in human hair. Psychol Med. 2017 Jan 19:1-13. doi: 10.1017/S0033291716003068.

 

Links


Labs and Affiliatations

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (Church Lab): http://labs.la.utexas.edu/church-lang/

Curriculum Vitae


Profile Pages


External Links



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  • Department of Psychology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043
    512-471-1157