John Colombo, PhD

Director, Life Span Institute
Department of Psychology - University of Kansas, Lawrence

Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo/Amherst, NY, 1981
Postdoctoral, University of Kansas, 1981-1982

My research interests are in the developmental cognitive neuroscience of attention and learning, with a special focus on early individual differences in these areas and how they relate to the typical and atypical development of cognitive and intellectual function.   Currently, I conduct a basic program of research on attention (i.e., the neural basis of learning and how it relates to learning), and its development from infancy to school age.   We have conducted research on different attentional profiles in infancy and their predictive validity for intellectual and language outcomes in childhood.   We are also currently exploring the use of behavioral and autonomic indices as biobehavioral markers for different developmental disabilities, including autism and ADHD.   Finally, we have active programs of work on the degree to which early measures of attention and cognition can be used as outcomes for early intervention; most notably we have employed our expertise in measurement in the evaluation of the effects of prenatal and postnatal supplementation of nutritional compounds on cognitive development.

Selected Publications

Colombo, J (2001). The development of visual attention in infancy. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 337-367.

Colombo J (2002). Infant attention grows up: The emergence of a developmental cognitive neuroscience perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 196-199. (This article was reprinted in: J. Lerner A. E. Alberts, [Eds., 2003], Current Directions in Developmental Psychology [1st Edition, pp. 18-26]. New York: Prentice-Hall.)

Colombo J, Richman WA, Shaddy DJ, Maikranz JM, Blaga, O. (2004). Developmental course of visual habituation and preschool cognitive and language outcome. Infancy, 5, 1-38.

Colombo J, Kannass, KN, Shaddy DJ, Kundurthi S, Anderson CJ, Blaga OM, Carlson SE (2004). Maternal DHA and the development of attention in infancy and toddlerhood. Child Development, 75, 1254-1267.

Anderson CJ, Colombo J (2006). Pupillary responses and visual scanning in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28, 1238-1256.

Blaga OM, Shaddy DJ, Anderson CJ, Kannass, KN, Little TD, Colombo J (2009). Structure and continuity of intelligence during early childhood. Intelligence, 37, 106-113.

Anderson CJ, Colombo, J. (2009). Larger tonic pupil size in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Developmental Psychobiology, 51, 207-211.

Colombo J, Carlson SE, Cheatham CL, Fitzgerald-Gustafson KM, Kepler A, Doty T. (2011, in press). LCPUFA supplementation during infancy lowers heart rate and changes the distribution of attention. Pediatric Research, 70, 1-5.

Roberts JE, Hatton DD, Bailey D, Long ACJ, Anello V, Colombo J. (2012) Visual attention and autistic behavior in infants with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities 42:937-46.

Brez CN, Colombo J. (2012). Your eyes say "no" but your heart says "yes": Behavioral and psychophysiological indices in infant quantitative processing. Infancy 17:445-454 .

Anderson CJ, Colombo, J. (2012). Pupil and salivary indicators in autism spectrum disorder. Developmental Psychobiology May 9.doi:10.1002/dev.21051.

Colombo J, Carlson SE (2012). Is the message the measure? BSID and studies of nutritional intervention. Pediatrics 129:1166.

Last modified: Jan 14, 2013


John Colombo, PhD
Director, Life Span Institute