Emily Merz

Assistant Professor
Cognitive Neuroscience PsychologyEmily faculty image
Office: 205 BHSCI
Phone: (970) 491-2317
Email: emily.merz@colostate.edu
Web Page: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=W0GhlGoAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

Education: Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2012
Area of Specialization: early experience, socioeconomic factors, brain development, self-regulation, developmental psychopathology

Teaching Courses: Adolescent Psychology, Neuroscience of Adversity, Child Exceptionality and Psychopathology, Child Psychology
Office Hours:
Monday- | Tuesday- | Wednesday- | Thursday- | Friday- | By Appointment- X

Current Research: Socioeconomic inequality leads to differences in children's experiences that impact their growth and development. In the LEARN lab, we study how these experiences may impact the developing brain to better understand ways to support families and communities and reduce the effects of disadvantage. We investigate stress as a mechanism through which socioeconomic disadvantage may impact the developing brain and in turn children's emotional and cognitive outcomes. Research in the lab also focuses on the factors in children's lives that promote resilience and testing strategies intended to reduce socioeconomic disparities in children's health and development.


Merz, E.C., Maskus, E.A., Melvin, S., He, X., & Noble, K.G. (2020). Socioeconomic disparities in language input are associated with children's language-related brain structure and reading skills. Child Development. 91(3), 846-860.

Merz, E.C., Wiltshire, C.A., & Noble, K.G. (2019). Socioeconomic inequality and the developing brain: Spotlight on language and executive function. Child Development Perspectives, 13(1), 15-20.

Merz, E.C., Desai, P.M., Rehman, R., Torres, S.D., Maskus, E.A., Melvin, S.A., Meyer, J., He, X., & Noble, K.G. (2019). Socioeconomic disparities in chronic physiologic stress are associated with brain structure in children. Biological Psychiatry. 86, 921-929.

Merz, E.C., Tottenham, N., & Noble, K.G. (2018). Socioeconomic status, amygdala volume, and internalizing symptoms in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 47(2), 312-323.

Piccolo, L.R., Merz, E.C., He, X., Sowell, E.R., & Noble, K.G. (2016). Age-related differences in cortical thickness vary by socioeconomic status. PLOS One, 11(9):e0162511.


Web Page

Linking Early Adversity, Resilience and Neurodevelopment (LEARN) Lab: In the Linking Early Adversity, Resilience and Neurodevelopment (LEARN) Lab, we investigate how children's experiences shape their brain development. We employ neuroimaging techniques to study associations between socioeconomic factors and children's brain structure and function; the proximal factors, such as chronic stress, that explain those associations; and the implications of socioeconomic differences in brain development for cognitive and mental health outcomes. Our goal is to contribute to advances in practice and policy related to childhood socioeconomic disadvantage.
Location: BSB269