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Shannon Ross-Sheehy

Shannon Ross-SheehyShannon Ross-Sheehy
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. University of Iowa

Web site:

Key words: Infant development, visual attention, visual short-term memory, eye-tracking, visual perception, preterm infants

Research statement

My primary research interests are in the co-development of visual attention and other cognitive systems, and how underlying neural substrates both support and are supported by the development of visual-cognitive competency. Several of my projects have focused on interactions between attention and short-term memory, and how these dynamics drive infant visual exploration and experience. My current work explores typical and atypical attentional development to determine how attention influences the emergence of foundational cognitive skills such as working memory, recognition memory and encoding speed. It is my hope that this work will allow us to identify the key attentional skills that support typical cognitive development, so that we may one day identify infants most at risk for cognitive deficits.

  • Associate Research Scientist (June 2011–June 2013)
    University of Iowa, Department of Psychology &
    University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Pediatrics Department
  • AAUW Postdoctoral Research Fellow (June 2010—June 2011)
    University of Iowa, Department of Psychology
  • Post-Doctoral Research (Jan 2007–June 2010)
    University of Iowa, Department of Psychology
    Supervisors: Bob McMurray and John P. Spencer
  • Post-Doctoral Research (Fall 2005–Jan 2007)
    University of Maryland, Departments of Human Development
    Supervisor: Nathan Fox
  • Honorable Mention, Early Career Award for International Conference for Infant Studies: (02/2006)
  • Brain Plasticity and Flexibility and Constraint During Development 
    Fellowship Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience  
    Dartmouth College, M.S. Gazzaniga, Director.
  • 11/2014 – 4/2016 (PI)                                                                
    Using Eye Movements To Assess Functional Brain Development In Infants
    Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenge Exploration Grant Round 13
    Topic: Explore New Ways to Measure Fetal and Infant Brain Development
    Total Direct Costs: $100,000
  • 07/2014 – 06/2015 (PI)                                                                
    Examining the functional origins of attentional dysfunction in 4-, 7-, and 10-month-old infants
    ETSU Research Development Committee Major Grant Program
    Total Direct Costs: $10,000
  • 2P01 HL046925-16
    07/2012 – 06/2017 (Consultant)                                                           
    Preterm Transfusions: Brain Structure and Function Outcomes
  • 07/2010 – 6/2011 (PI)                                                                
    Individual Differences in the Development of Infant Visual AttentionAmerican Association of University of Women (AAUW) Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Direct Costs: $35,000
  • 10/07 – 9/12 (PI)                                                                                            
    Early Behavioral Predictors of Infant Attentional Development
    NIH Loan Repayment Grant                                                                                    
    Total Direct Costs: $116,875.00
  • 06/07 – 06/10 (PI)                                                                                            
    Early Behavioral Predictors of Infant Attentional Development
    NIH Postdoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award
    Total Direct Costs: $151,610.00
  • 09/03 – 09/05 (PI)                                                                                              
    Attention and Visual Short-Term Memory in Infants                                                    
    NIH Predoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award                                                                                           
    Total Direct Costs: $54,144.0

Ross-Sheehy, S., Schneegens, S., & Spencer, J. P. (2015). The Infant Orienting With Attention task: Assessing the neural basis of visuo-spatial attention in infancy. Infancy, 467-506.
Ross-Sheehy, S., & Newman, R. S. (2015). Infant auditory short-term memory for non-linguistic sounds. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 132, 51–64.
Ross-Sheehy, S., Oakes, L. M., & Luck, S. J. (2011). Exogenous attention influences visual short-term memory in infants.  Developmental Science, 14, 490-501.
Oakes, L. M., Hurley, K. B., Ross-Sheehy, S. & Luck, S. J. (2011). Developmental changes in infants' visual short-term memory for object location. Cognition, 118, 293-305.
Oakes, L. M., Messenger, I. M., Ross-Sheehy, S., & Luck, S. J. (2009). New evidence for rapid development of color-location binding in infants' visual short-term memory. Visual Cognition, 17(1-2), 67-82.
Oakes, L. M., Ross-Sheehy, S., & Luck, S. J. (2006). Rapid development of feature binding in visual working memory. Psychological Science, (17), 781-787.
Oakes, L. M., Ross-Sheehy, S. & Kannass, K.N. (2004).  Attentional engagement in infancy:  The interactive influence of attentional inertia and attentional state.  Infancy. 5(2), 209-216.
Ross-Sheehy, S., Oakes, L. M., & Luck, S. J. (2003). The development of visual short-term memory capacity in infants. Child Development, 74(6), 1581-1593.

Ross, S. M. & Dannemiller, J. L. (1999).  Color, contrast, luminance contrast and competition within exogenous orienting in 3.5-month-old infants.   Infant Behavior and Development, 22(3), 383-404.

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