My research program centers around understanding the direct, indirect and interactive influences of prenatal and postnatal experience on the development of executive function in preschool and early childhood. I am particularly interested in normative variations during pregnancy (e.g., diet, inflammation) and the early postnatal period (e.g., parenting, sleep quality) that lead to divergent trajectories of EF development. I study these questions from a biopsychosocial perspective and using innovative, objective methodologies and statistical techniques wherever possible.
The purpose of this website is to share information about my research interests, describe my current and past projects, and ensure timely dissemination of my research findings.
The Brain and Early Experience Study (BEE; R01 HD091148; PI: Propper, Short) is a prospective, longitudinal study examining the influence of poverty on emerging executive function via alterations in structural and functional brain development, including whether prenatal and/or postnatal proximal experiences contribute to these associations. As project director, I assist the principal and co-investigators in making study decisions, coordinate the recruitment and data collection activities of graduate students and staff, and contribute to grant writing efforts related to add-on projects.
In the near future, I look forward to analyzing the data relating prenatal experience to child neurodevelopmental and cognitive outcomes
The Neonatal and Pediatric Sleep Study (NAPS; R21 HD077146; PI: Propper) investigated infant sleep development in a sample of African-American infants, a population known to be at increased risk for sleep disturbance across the lifespan. As a graduate research assistant, I developed and implemented study protocols, and coded observational data. As a postdoctoral fellow, I continue to be involved in data analysis from this project.In addition, I led a pilot grant (UNC Sleep Innovation Pilot Grant Program; PI: Camerota) that enabled us to assay previously collected blood samples for levels of inflammatory biomarkers during pregnancy. With these data, I am currently investigating the influence of prenatal diet and inflammation on infant sleep and cognitive development.
The Prenatal Experience and Pediatric Sleep Study (PEAPS; K01 DA035298; PI: Propper), investigated the influence of prenatal nicotine exposure on infants' sleep and self-regulation. As a graduate research assistant, I worked on protocol development and implementation, including supervising data collection. As a postdoctoral fellow, I am currently working on data analysis from this project.
In addition, I co-led an add-on grant (UNC Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication Pilot Grant Program; Co-PI’s: Camerota & Wagner) to recruit a subsample of women who reported using electronic cigarettes during pregnancy. With this additional funding, I investigated the prevalence, perceptions, and patterns of use of electronic cigarette among pregnant women. I also developed a novel self-report measure (the Daily Experience Diary) to prospectively capture patterns of substance use throughout pregnancy.
Electronic versions of my papers are provided here to ensure the timely and unbiased dissemination of science to the public. Copyright resides with the respective copyright holders as stated in each article.
Camerota, M., Gueron-Sela, N., Grimes, M., Propper, C. B. (2020). Longitudinal links between maternal factors and infant cognition: Moderation by infant sleep. Infancy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/infa.12321
Short, S. J., Willoughby, M. T., Camerota, M., Stephens, R. L., Steiner, R. J., Styner, M., & Gilmore, J. H. (2019). Individual differences in neonatal white matter are associated with executive function at 3 years of age. Brain Structure and Function. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00429-019-01955-0
Camerota, M., Propper, C. B., & Teti, D. M. (2019). Intrinsic and extrinsic factors predicting infant sleep: Moving beyond main effects. Developmental Review, 53, 100871. doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2019.100871
Camerota, M., & Willoughby, M. T. (2019). Prenatal risk predicts preschooler executive function: A cascade model. Child Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/cdev.13271
Camerota, M., Willoughby, M. T., & Blair, C. B. (2019). Speed and accuracy on the hearts and flowers task interact to predict child outcomes. Psychological Assessment, 31, 995-1005.
*Grimes, M., Camerota, M., & Propper, C. B (2019). Neighborhood deprivation predicts infant sleep quality. Sleep Health, 5, 148-151.
Camerota, M., Tully, K. P., Gueron-Sela, N., Grimes, M., Propper, C. B. (2018). Assessment of infant sleep: How well do multiple measures compare?. SLEEP, 41, zsy146. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy146
Gueron-Sela, N., Camerota, M., Willoughby, M. T., Vernon-Feagans, L., Cox M. J., and the Family Life Project Key Investigators (2018). Maternal depressive symptoms, mother-child interactions and children’s executive function. Developmental Psychology, 54, 71-82. doi: 10.1037/dev0000389
Camerota, M., Willoughby, M.T., Kuhn, L.J., & Blair, C.B. (2018). The Childhood Executive Functioning Inventory (CHEXI): Factor structure, measurement invariance, and correlates in US preschoolers. Child Neuropsychology, 24, 322-337.
Wagner, N.J., Camerota, M., & Propper, C. (2017). Prevalence and perceptions of electronic cigarette use during pregnancy. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 21, 1655-1661. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2257-9.
Gueron-Sela, N., Propper, C. B., Wagner, N. J., Camerota, M., & Tully, K. P. (2016). Infant respiratory sinus arrhythmia and maternal depressive symptoms predict toddler sleep problems. Developmental Psychobiology, 59, 261-267. doi: 10.1002/dev.21480
Camerota, M. & Bollen, K.A. (2016). Birth weight, birth length, and gestational age as indicators of favorable fetal growth conditions in a US sample. PLOS One, 11, e0153800. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153800
Camerota, M., Willoughby, M.T., Cox, M., & Greenberg, M. (2015). Executive function in low birth weight preschoolers: The moderating effect of parenting. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 1551-1562. doi: 10.1007/s10802-015-0032-9
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Developmental Psychology, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Developmental Psychology, M.A.
Human Development, B.S., Honors