Saliha B. SelmanGraduate Student


My main research interest focuses on identifying early risk and protective factors of cognitive development and how early psychosocial and physiological pathways can influence the course of development. More specifically, I am interested in examining the effects of early cumulative stress and the role of parenting on self-regulatory functions of young children. I hope to study the modifiable processes of early development as a biopsychosocial phenomenon with the aim of understanding the ways in which a child’s early experience might have long-term effects on their developmental trajectory.

I am a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Studies department and a Project Assistant in the Child and Family Ecologies (CAFÉ) Lab at UW–Madison, working with Dr. Janean Dilworth-Bart and exploring the impact of early stress on young children’s cognitive functions and parenting.

Education and Relevant Experience

Saliha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Istanbul Sehir University, where she became interested in studying how early experience influences the course of development. Saliha also worked as a research volunteer in the Laboratory for Youth Mental Health, Harvard University on a meta-analysis project, which examined youth psychotherapy between 2014-2016. After graduating, Saliha received her M.A. in Psychological & Brain Sciences from Boston University. There, she completed a thesis titled The Role of Chronic Physiological Stress & Mother-Infant Interaction in Executive Function Development in Early Childhood, under the supervision of Dr. Amanda Tarullo. She worked as a research assistant for Dr. Tarullo, exploring the impact of early chronic stress on young children’s cognitive functioning and parenting.


Selman, S. B., Dilworth-Bart, J., Selman, H. S., Cook, J. G., & Duncan, L. G. (2020). Skin-to-Skin Contact in Infant Emotional and Cognitive Development in Chronic Perinatal Distress. Early Human Development, 151(105182), 1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2020.105182

Schultz, A., Malecki, K., Olson, M., Selman, S. B., Olaiya, O., Spicer, A., Schauer, J., Kirkorian, H., & Dilworth-Bart, J. (2020). Investigating Cumulative Exposures Among 3- to 4-Year-Old Children Using Wearable Ultrafine Particle Sensors and Language Environment Devices: A Pilot and Feasibility Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), 5259-5274. doi:10.3390/ijerph17145259


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development and Family Studies