BEE Study


Chronic stress for children growing up in poverty may lead to lasting effects on social, behavioral, cognitive and academic development.

This study, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Development, examines the link between poverty and executive functions known to undergo rapid developmental change during the first years of life, including cognitive processes that facilitate learning, self-monitoring and decision making.

What we’re studying

Our team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will examine early neurological development in roughly 230 kids from birth to age 3. We will also investigate critical experiences of the home environment, including language exposure, caregiver behavior, and child sleep hygiene that may mediate the effect of this risk on child structural and functional brain development.

What we’re measuring

Kids in the study will partake in five visits during the first 3 years that includes neuroimaging at two weeks and 15 and 24 months of age. We will focus on developing white matter tracts that support cognitive processes of emerging executive functions: anterior cingulum (error monitoring); uncinate (joint attention); arcuate fasciculus (language processing) and individual differences in functional brain development, including resting state networks of salience, attention, executive control and default-mode. At 6 and 24 months of age, we will conduct an intensive home visit with observational and objective measures of caregiver behavior, language exposure (via speech recorders) and sleep hygiene. We will assess child cognitive development throughout the study and the emergence of executive functioning at 3 years of age.

group photo of study team
BEE Study team at UNC
drawing of a bee

Other funding for BEE