Natasha Chaku

Natasha Chaku

Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

**Not accepting graduate students for Fall, 2024**


  • Ph.D., Fordham University, 2020
  • M.A., Fordham University, 2017
  • B.A., Vassar College, 2012

Areas of Study

  • Developmental Science
  • Cognitive Science
  • Quantitative Methods

Research Topics

  • Adolescence
  • Cognitive Development

Research Summary

The adolescent transition is characterized by dramatic biological, cognitive, and social changes that are detrimental for some, but not all, youth. My research emphasizes that adolescent outcomes are multidetermined, person-specific, and the manifestation of their unique biopsychosocial context. Thus, the aim of my research is to understand “what works when and for whom,” by developing and using increasingly personalized methods to study adolescent behavior. My core research interests involve understanding cognitive development in adolescence, its correlates, and the implications of its development for different populations, especially as related to puberty, psychopathology, and positive development. To investigate these questions, I use intensive longitudinal assessments (e.g., daily diary), physiological data collection (e.g., saliva), and behavioral assessments (e.g., neurocognitive testing) alongside secondary data analyses and community-orientated data collection (e.g., youth participatory action research) to better understand youth’s lived experiences.

Representative Publications

Chaku, N., & Barry, K. (2022). Exploring profiles of hormone exposure: Associations with cognition in a population-based cohort of early adolescents. Registered Report accepted for publication at Infant and Child Development. [In Principle Acceptance]

Chaku, N., Barry, K.*, Fowle, J.*, & Hoyt, L.T. (2022). Understanding patterns of heterogeneity in executive functioning during adolescence: Evidence from population-level data. Developmental Science. [Preregistration]

Chaku, N. & Beltz, A. M. (2021). Using temporal network methods to reveal the idiographic nature of development. Advances in Child Behavior and Development, 62, 159-190.

Chaku, N., Hoyt, L.T., & Barry, K.* (2021). Executive functioning profiles in adolescence: Using person-centered approaches to understand heterogeneity. Cognitive Development, 60.

Chaku, N., Kelly, D.P., & Beltz, A.M. (2021). Individualized learning potential in stressful times: How to leverage intensive longitudinal data for the future of online learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 121.

Hoyt, L.T., Chaku, N., Barry, K.*, Anderson, G., & Ballard, P.J. (2021). Enacting maturity during adolescence: Extending theory, developing a measure, and considering implications for problem behaviors. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 1-22.

Chaku, N., & Hoyt, L.T. (2019). Developmental trajectories of executive functioning and puberty in boys and girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(7), 1365-1378.

Hoyt, L.T., Zeiders, K.H., Chaku, N., Toomey, R.B., & Nair, R.L. (2018). Young adults’ psychological and physiological reactions to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 92, 162-169. (Selected as “Editor’s Choice” Article)