Shannon R. Zentall, Ph.D.

Shannon R. Zentall, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor, Program Director of Child & Family Development
Dept/Program: School of Social Work and Family Sciences
Office: Polsky 415B
Phone: 330-972-8158
Curriculum Vitae: Download in PDF format


Dr. Shannon Zentall’s research focuses on how social context contributes to children’s emotional, physiological, and cognitive development within three primary lines of research:

(1) the development of attachment relationships with mothers and fathers;
(2) the development of child motivation (e.g., how does praise influence children differently); and
(3) informal STEM learning through the family context (e.g., how science can be naturally embedded into family cooking).

Other Areas of Interest include:

• Development of emotion regulation
• Family sleeping arrangement (e.g., co-sleeping)


1. Eye tracking methodology
2. Physiological measurements (e.g., galvanic skin conductance)
3. Second-by-second behavioral coding from video recordings
4. The Strange Situation Paradigm used to assess the parent-infant attachment relationship.
5. Quantitative and qualitative methods
6. Longitudinal (MLM, SEM) and experimental designs


Selected Publications

  • Morris, B. J., Zentall, S. R., Murray, G., & Owens, W. (2021). Enhancing informal STEM learning through family
    engagement in cooking. Proceedings of the Singapore National Academy of Science, 15(2) 119-133,
  • Braungart-Rieker, J. M., Planalp, E. M., Ekas, N. V., Lickenbrock D. M., & Zentall, S. R. (2020). Toddler affect
    with mothers and fathers: The importance of infant attachment, Attachment & Human Development, 22(6),
    668-686, DOI: 10.1080/14616734.2019.1681012
  • Morris, B. J., & Zentall, S.R. (2014). High fives motivate! The effects of ambiguous verbal or gestural praise on
    motivation. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(928), 1-6.
  • Braungart-Rieker, J.M., Zentall, S. R., Lickenbrock, D., Ekas, N. V., & Oshio, T. (2014). Attachment in the
    making: Mother and father sensitivity and infants’ responses during the still-face paradigm. Journal of
    Experimental Child Psychology, 125, 63-84.
  • Lickenbrock, D. M., Braungart-Rieker, J. M., Ekas, N. V., Zentall, S. R., Oshio, T., & Planalp, E. M., (2013).
    Early temperament and attachment security with mothers and fathers as predictors of toddler
    compliance. Infant and Child Development, 22, 580–602.
  • Planalp, E. M., Braungart-Rieker, J. M., Lickenbrock, D. M., & Zentall, S. R. (2013). Trajectories of parenting
    during infancy: The role of infant temperament and marital adjustment for mothers and fathers. Infancy,
    18, E16-E45.
  • Zentall, S.R., & Morris, B. J. (2012). A critical eye: Praise directed toward traits increases children’s eye fixations
    on errors and decreases motivation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19, 1073-1077.
  • Zentall, S. R., Braungart-Rieker, J.M.; Ekas, N. V., & Lickenbrock, D. M. (2012). Longitudinal assessment of
    sleep-wake regulation and attachment security with parents. Infant and Child Development, 21, 443-457.
    doi: 10.1002/icd.1752
  • Ekas, N. V., Braungart-Rieker, J. M., Lickenbrock, D. M., Zentall, S. R., & Maxwell, S. R., (2011). Toddler emotion
    regulation with mothers and fathers: Temporal associations between affect and behavioral strategies.
    Infancy, 16, 266-294.
  • Zentall, S. R. & Morris, B. J. (2010). “Good job, you’re so smart”: The effects of inconsistency of praise type on
    children’s motivation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 107, 155-163.


  • Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, University of Notre Dame
  • M.S. Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University
  • B.A. Psychology, Indiana University


  • Development in Infancy and Early Childhood 
  • Orientation to Graduate Studies in Child & Family Development
  • Orientation to Prof. Studies in Child & Family Development
  • Infant Development
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Child & Family Development Internship
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Methods
  • Theory and Guidance of Play
  • Teaching in the Early Childhood
  • Child Development