Eliza Nelson

Eliza Nelson
  • NIH/NICHD Postdoctoral Fellow, Carolina Consortium on Human Development, Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Ph.D./M.S., Neuroscience and Behavior, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
  • B.S., Psychology and Communication Disorders, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, OH

Research Interests

Dr. Nelson’s research focuses on motor development in children and nonhuman primates. Her comparative research program brings together developmental science, neuroscience, and primatology. Dr. Nelson utilizes longitudinal behavioral methods, as well as high-speed motion tracking technology, to study the interplay between the organization of the motor system and the emergence of sophisticated abilities such as motor planning, tool use, and language. Dr. Nelson has published on a number of different primate species including black and white ruffed lemurs, rhesus monkeys, and chimpanzees. This work has appeared in journals such as Developmental Science and the American Journal of Primatology. In 2011, Dr. Nelson received the Hennessy‐ Smotherman-Wiley Best Student Paper Award from the journal Developmental Psychobiology. Dr. Nelson conducts projects with human infants and toddlers on the FIU campus and parallel studies at Monkey Jungle in South Dade.

Select Publications

(*Denotes undergraduate student mentored)

Nelson, E.L., Konidaris, G.D., Berthier, N.E., Braun*, M.C., Novak, M.F.S.X., Suomi, S.J. & Novak, M.A. (2012). Kinematics of reaching and implications for handedness in rhesus monkey infants. Developmental Psychobiology, 54, 460-467. DOI:10.1002/dev20604.

Nelson, E.L., Berthier, N.E., Metevier, C.M. & Novak, M.A. (2011). Evidence for motor planning in monkeys: Rhesus macaques select efficient grips when transporting spoons. Developmental Science, 14, 822-831. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01030.x.

Nelson, E.L., Emery*, M.S., Babcock*, S.M., Novak, M.F.S.X., Suomi, S.J. & Novak, M.A. (2011). Head orientation and handedness trajectory in rhesus monkey infants (Macaca mulatta). Developmental Psychobiology, 53, 246-255. DOI: 10.1002/dev.20517.

Nelson, E.L., O'Karma*, J.M., Ruperti, F.S. & Novak, M.A. (2009). Laterality in semi-free-ranging black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata): Head-tilt correlates with hand use during feeding. American Journal of Primatology, 71, 1032-1040. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20746.

Nelson, E.L., Ruperti, F. & Novak, M.A. (2007). Bridging Science and Tourism: A Preliminary Study of the Black and White Ruffed Lemur at Monkeyland. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference of PAAZAB (African Association of Zoos & Aquaria), 39-41.

Hopkins, W., Cantalupo, C., Freeman, H., Russell, J., Kachin, M. and Nelson, E. (2005) Chimpanzees are right-handed when recording bouts of hand use. Laterality, 10(2), 121-130. DOI: 10.1080/13576500342000347.

Courses Taught

  • Experimental Psychology (Spring 2013)