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Makeba P. Wilbourn, Associate Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience

Makeba P. Wilbourn
Contact Info:
Office Location:  214 Reuben-Cooke, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-5795
Email Address:   send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Fall 2022):   (typical courses)

  • Psy 103d.002, Developmental psychology Synopsis
    Reuben-coo 130, MW 05:15 PM-06:30 PM
  • Psy 103d.06d, Developmental psychology Synopsis
    Reuben-coo 127, Tu 01:45 PM-02:35 PM
  • Psy 103d.07d, Developmental psychology Synopsis
    Bio sci 155, Tu 03:30 PM-04:20 PM
  • Psy 103d.08d, Developmental psychology Synopsis
    Reuben-coo 129, Tu 05:15 PM-06:05 PM
  • Psy 103d.09d, Developmental psychology Synopsis
    Social sciences 109, Tu 07:00 PM-07:50 PM
  • Psy 601s.02, Psychology teaching seminar Synopsis
    Allen 304i, W 12:00 PM-02:30 PM
Office Hours:


Ph.D.Cornell University2008
M.A.California State University, Fullerton2001
B.A.California State University, Fullerton1997

Developmental Psychology
Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Research Interests:

My program of research explores how the relationship between cognition and language changes over time and the types of input (e.g., gestures, bilingualism) that influence this relationship. In general, my research addresses three key theoretical questions. First, how does cognition influence language early in development? In particular, I am interested in how infants and toddlers’ developing cognitive and perceptual skills lay the foundation for early word learning and how this changes as a function of input and experience. Secondly, how does language come to influence cognition in children and adults? In this line of research, I am interested in determining how various types of linguistic and cultural experiences affect the cognitive abilities of monolinguals and bilinguals throughout development. Finally, how does the use of gesture influence the relationship between cognition and language? This area of research focuses on the relationship between early gesture use and later language development and how this relationship is influenced by socio-cultural factors, such as race and socioeconomic status.

Areas of Interest:

relation between thought, language, and gesture
language development
gestures and signed languages
multimodal input
social-cultural influences of early vocabulary development
early language development in African American children
cognitive development
information processing

Curriculum Vitae
Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Wilbourn, MP; Casasola, M (2012). Hand me a cue: Developmental changes in infants’ associative word learning abilities. Developmental Psychology.
  2. Kalia, V; Wilbourn, MP; Ghio, K (2012). Age of second language acquisition and language proficiency interactively influence bilinguals’ cognition. Bilingualism: Cognition & Language.
  3. Robertson, SR; Watamura, SE; Wilbourn, MP (2012). Attentional dynamics of infant visual foraging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 109(28), 11460-11464. [doi]  [abs]
  4. Wilbourn, MP; Sims, JP (2013). Get by with a little help from a word: Multimodal input facilitates 26-month-olds' ability to learn symbolic gestures as labels. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14(2), 250-269. [doi]  [abs]
  5. Wilbourn, MP; Kurtz, LE; Kalia, V (2012). The Lexical Stroop Sort (LSS) picture-word task: a computerized task for assessing the relationship between language and executive functioning in school-aged children.. Behavior Research Methods, 44(1), 270-286. [21853409], [doi]  [abs]
  6. Wilbourn, MP; Gottfried, AW; Kee, DW (2011). Consistency of hand-preference across the early years: long-term relationship to verbal intelligence and reading achievement in girls.. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 931-942. [21574699], [doi]  [abs]
  7. Wilbourn, MP; Casasola, M (2007). Discriminating signs: perceptual precursors to acquiring a visual-gestural language.. Infant Behavior & Development, 30(1), 153-160. [doi]  [abs]
  8. Casasola, M; Wilbourn, MP; Yang, S (2006). Can English-learning toddlers acquire and generalize a novel spatial word?. First Language, 26(2), 187-205. [doi]  [abs]
  9. Casasola, M; Wilbourn, MP (2004). Fourteen-month-old infants form novel word-spatial relation associations. Infancy, 6(3), 385-396.  [abs]
  10. Gottfried, A.W., Gottfried, A.E., Bathurst, K., Guerin, D.W., & Parramore, M.(2003). "Socioeconomic status in children’s development and family environment: Infancy through adolescence. In M. Bornstein & R. Bradley (Eds.)." Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  11. Hersberger, S., Marcoulides, G., & Parramore, M. (2002). "Introduction to structural equation modeling techniques. In Pugesek, B., Tomer, A., von Eye, A. (Eds.)." Structural equation modeling: Applications in ecological and evolutionary research. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
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