Lisa  Gatzke-Kopp 

photo of Lisa Gatzke-Kopp

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies; Professor-in-Charge of the Graduate Program

Contact Information

228 Health and Human Development Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-863-7963

Teaching Interests

At the graduate level I teach courses related to developmental biopsychology including HDFS 502, an overview course in individual differences from the biological level of analysis and HDFS 520, prenatal and infant development. At the undergraduate level I teach a course in developmental psychopathology.

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, my research focus is on the development of emotional and behavioral problems in childhood. I am interested in the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie emotion regulation, impulsivity and decision making, as well as examining how environmental and experiential factors impact neurobiological development. I am also involved in several collaborative projects aimed at incorporating knowledge from basic psychophysiological research into preventive-intervention programs.

In my work I collaborate extensively with prevention researchers with interests in both school and family contexts. I employ a wide range of techniques in examining neurobiological function including autonomic (ECG, IMP, EDA); central (EEG, ERP, fMRI), and peripheral (genetic, endocrine) measures. By focusing on basic mechanisms of behavior problems, my work aims to inform and evaluate both universal and targeted prevention programming. Some examples of my research include:

  • Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies: PATHS to Success. We have conducted two longitudinal studies on the effectiveness of a school-based socio-emotional learning prevention program for kindergarten children (one in Harrisburg and one in Baltimore). Children were given a psychophysiological assessment before being randomly assigned to an experimental condition, with follow-up assessments annually. We are examining (a) what cognitive and regulatory skills predict which children will be more responsive to treatment than others, (b) how intervention program effects influence behavioral change, (c) whether children can develop similar behavioral problems through different mechanistic pathways
  • Supporting Early Adolescent Learning and Social Success: SEALS II. I am currently collaborating with education researchers in developing and testing professional development programs for middle school teachers to help them better understand and manage behavioral issues and social dynamics in the classroom. I have worked closely with the team to develop training modules on the implications of changes in brain development during adolescence on behavior and behavioral management.
  • Assessing Cost Estimation: ACE. Examining genetic, environmental, and experiential developmental pathways that lead to the development of different phenotypic profiles of impulsive decision making. Specifically we are examining the unique pathways leading to individual differences in delay discounting, effort discounting, and probability discounting.
  • Family Dynamics. In collaboration with Elizabeth Skowron (University of Oregon) we are examining how parent-child interactions in real time inform our understanding of how parents support (or impede) the development of self-regulation in pre-school children even in the context of high-risk (maltreatment) settings.
  • Development of Self-Regulation. In collaboration with Pamela Cole (Psychology) and Nilam Ram, we are working on identifying optimal approaches to modeling the emergence of self-regulation both in real-time and over the course of early childhood.


B.S., 1996, University of California, Santa Barbara, Biopsychology
Ph.D., 2003, University of Sourthern California, Clinical Neuroscience

Professional Experience

2013-Present: Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University

2007-2013: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University

2008-Present: Graduate Faculty, Neuroscience Program, Pennsylvania State University

Selected Publications

Farmer, T. W., Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Lee, D. L., Dawes, M., & Talbott, E. (in press). Research and policy on disability: Linking special education to developmental science. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Gatzke-Kopp, L. M. (2016). Diversity and representation: Key issues for psychophysiological science. Psychophysiology, 53, 3 – 13. Doi: 10.1111/psyp.12525

Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Willner, C. J.*, Jetha, M., K., Abenavoli, R. M.*, DuPuis, D*., & Segalowitz, S. J. (2015). How does Reactivity to Frustrative Non-Reward Increase Risk for Externalizing Symptoms? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 98, 300-309. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.04.018

Willner, C. J.*, Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Bierman, K., Greenberg, M., & Segalowitz, S. J. (2015). Relevance of a neurophysiological marker of selective attention for children’s learning-related behaviors and academic performance. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1148-1162.

Gates, K. M., Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Sandsten M., & Blandon, A. Y. (2015). Estimating time-varying RSA using short-time Fourier transform: A demonstration of utility using marital dyads. Psychophysiology, 52, 1059-1065. PMID: 25851933 DOI: 10.111/psyp.12428

DuPuis, D.*, Ram, N., Willner, C. J.*, Karalunas, S., Segalowitz, S. J., & Gatzke-Kopp, L.M. § (2015). Implications of ongoing neural development for the measurement of the error-related negativity in childhood. Developmental Science, 18, 452-468. PMID: 25209462

Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Greenberg, M., & Bierman, K. (2015). Children’s parasympathetic reactivity to specific emotions moderates response to intervention for early-onset aggression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 44, 291-304. PMID: 24308798 doi: 10.1080/15374416.2013.862801

Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Jetha, M. K., & Segalowitz, S. J. (2014). The role of resting frontal EEG asymmetry in psychopathology: Afferent or efferent filter? Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 73-85. PMID: 23168718

Skowron, E. A., Cipriano-Essel, E. A.*, Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Teti, D. & Ammerman, R. (2014). Early adversity, RSA, and inhibitory control: evidence of children’s neurobiological sensitivity to social context. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 964-978. PMID 24142832

Fortunato, C. F.*, Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., & Ram, N. (2013). Associations between respiratory sinus arrhythmia reactivity and internalizing and externalizing symptoms are emotion specific. Cognitive and Affective Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 238-251.

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Lisa Gatzke-Kopp vitae

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Domains of Health and Behavior