Suzanne Gaskins, Ph.D.


Research Interests

My broadest research goal is to understand the relationship of enculturation and development in children. My research is done primarily in a small Mayan village in Yucatan, Mexico, where I have lived and worked part-time for over 30 years.  My research has been focused on children’s play and work as culturally structured activities, the developmental trajectory of linguistic relativity, and early social interaction. Most recently I have been investigating observational learning and open attention, that is, habitual attention that is wide ranging and abiding (in contrast to focused attention). 

I am also interested in other informal learning environments, including museums.  For over 20 years I have conducted research on how children and their families use children’s museums, including studying cultural differences. I am interested in how museums can design exhibits that better respond to the needs of all their visitors.

For both of these research environments, I strive to integrate quantitative and qualitative methods.

Professor Emerita

Department of Psychology

Northeastern Illinois University

5500 N. St. Louis Ave.

Chicago, IL 60625