Senior Lecturer

Research and/or Creative Works

My primary focus is on teaching, and my principal interests are in the areas of social cognition and observational learning. Though I am not currently involved in research, my previous work has explored factors contributing to individual and group differences in observational learning and processing of social stimuli, and the interaction of these mechanisms across development.

Some specific areas of interest include:

  • Examining associations among different modes of social learning (spontaneous and elicited imitation/emulation) and how variability in these behaviors relates to broader socio-cognitive development.
  • Identifying contextual factors that may contribute to how efficiently we learn, process, and retain new behaviors and skills.
  • Investigating the relative contributions of genes and environment to individual differences in learning and social cognition, and how these influences change or remain stable across development.
  • Exploring the varied impacts of screen media on early cognitive and social development and behaviors, design of media products marketed to children, and ways in which media may be employed as an effective tool to facilitate learning.


  • Wagner, N.J., Waller, R., Flom, M., Ronfard, S., Fenstermacher, S., & Saudino, K.J. (2020). Less imitation of arbitrary actions is a specific developmental precursor to callous-unemotional traits in early childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13182
  • Linebarger, D. N., Brey, E., Fenstermacher, S., & Barr, R. (2017). What makes preschool educational television educational? A content analysis of literacy, language-promoting, and prosocial preschool programming. In Media Exposure During Infancy and Early Childhood (pp. 97-133). Springer International Publishing.
  • Fenstermacher, S. K. & Saudino, K. J. (2016). Exploring links among imitation, mental development, and temperament. Infancy: the official journal of the International Society on Infant Studies, 21(5), 536.
  • Schroeder, K.B., Asherson, P., Blake, P.R., Fenstermacher, S.K., & Saudino, K.J.  (2016). Variant at serotonin transporter gene predicts increased imitation in toddlers: relevance to the human capacity for cumulative culture.  Biology Letters, 12(4), 20160106.
  • Fenstermacher, S.K., Barr, R., Brey, E., Pempek, T.A., Ryan, M., Calvert, S.L., Shwery, C., & Linebarger, D. (2010).  Interactional quality depicted in infant-directed videos:  Where are the interactions? Infant and Child Development, 19, 594-612.
  • Fenstermacher, S.K., Barr, R., Garcia, A., Salerno, K., Calvert, S.L., Shwery, C., & Linebarger, D.L. (2010). Infant-directed media: An analysis of product information and claims.  Infant and Child Development, 19, 557-576.
  • Vaala, S.E., Barr, R., Fenstermacher, S.K., Tedone, A., Shwery, C., & Linebarger, D. (2010).  Language development and joint attention strategies in infant media.  Infant and Child Development, 19, 628-648.
  • Fenstermacher, S.K. & Saudino, K.J. (2007).  Toddler see, toddler do?  Genetic and environmental influences on laboratory-assessed elicited imitation.  Behavior Genetics, 37, 639-647.
  •  Fenstermacher, S.K. & Saudino, K.J. (2006).  Understanding individual differences in young children’s imitative behavior.  Developmental Review, 26, 346-364.


  • B.S. Pennsylvania State University, 1996
  • M.A. Boston University, 2000
  • Ph.D. Boston University, 2009


  • 802-656-0882
Office Location:

334 Dewey Hall

Office Hours:

By appointment via email