Susan C. Levine’s research focuses on young children’s language, numerical and spatial development. She is particularly interested in how environmental variations affect development in these domains, both in typically developing children and children with perinatal brain injury.
Her studies of children with early brain injury focus on ways that early parent language input can boost plasticity and developmental outcomes. Her studies range from basic laboratory investigations of children’s cognitive development and learning to naturalistic studies of how children learn at home and at school.
Levine’s research also examines socio-emotional factors that may impact children’s learning, including parents’ and elementary school teachers’ attitudes and stereotypes about math and spatial learning and students’ own anxieties and stereotypes about these domains. A new project investigates the role of parent-child math interactions on children’s math achievement, attitudes and anxiety. An ongoing project involves examining the relation of achievement in numerical aspects of mathematics and spatial thinking. She also is part of a collaborative research team developing formative language and mathematics assessments that preschool teachers can use with the children in their classrooms in order to better address instructional dilemmas they face in helping children move along learning paths. She served on the National Academy of Sciences panel whose work resulted in the book: Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity. She also co-authored a book on plasticity following early brain injury titled Neural Plasticity and Cognitive Development: Insights from Children with Perinatal Brain Injury.