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Fall 2021 Newsletter

Happy fall! As the seasons are changing we hope all of our BEAR Lab families are doing well and staying safe. It’s been a while since our last BEAR lab newsletter, and we have had some exciting changes and updates we want to share with you.

What’s New in the BEAR Lab?

We are very pleased to welcome some new members to the BEAR Lab team! Allie Morra has started as our full-time project coordinator, Ella Amaral Lavoie joined us as a first year graduate student, and Nicole Baumgartner is in her second year with the lab, but her first year in person! You will also continue to see and hear from Elizabeth, Natalee, and Lauren, in addition to a great team of 19 undergraduates who will be helping with visits.

We are very pleased to have started our TEDDI pre-kindergarten (“Phase 5”) visit to the laboratory again! This is happening in the fall rather than the summer, as it took a little while for in-person lab activities to start again at Miami University. We are trying to maximize our healthy practices to minimize risk to any of the BEAR Lab families and staff. Some of you participated virtually during your child’s kindergarten year. Although they may be in 1st or 2nd grade, we’ll still be inviting them to the lab. We will also be starting our “Phase 6” visit again, in which children get use our fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) technology – a fancy way of understanding blood flow (activity) in the brain without having to be in a scanner. We are currently planning our next phase in which kids who are 8 and older will be invited for some lab activities with their parents. Keep an eye out for updates from us!

Another very exciting milestone in the lab is that we are starting “OTTERS” (Ohio-Texas Transactional Emotion Research Study), in collaboration with Dr. Kiel’s collaborator and friend, Dr. Rebecca Brooker, at Texas A&M University. With 5 years of funding from the National Institute for Mental Health, we aim to provide more information to researchers and practitioners about mothers’ and infants’ emotions and anxiety during the first three years of children’s lives. With the study, we aim to raise awareness of the increased experiences of anxiety that some mothers experience in the post-partum and infancy period. We are

currently recruiting 11-13 month-old infants and their mothers, no matter whether they experience anxiety or not! Participating families can receive up to $225 over three years ($50

for age 1, $75 for age 2, and $100 for age 3). We’ll be doing similar games and activities to our other study, as well as EEG measurements. We’d love for you to join us if you have an infant in that age range, or pass along our contact info to people you know who do! You can follow the QR code on the right OR go to the “Contact” tab on our NEW lab website

TEDDI Study Results

Many of you provided us with important information about your COVID experiences over the last 18 months. Lauren, in her fifth year as a Miami University graduate student, took the lead on this project and has some exciting results about your incredible resilience during this experience. Specifically, we found that mothers’ general well-being and children’s effortful control (ability to wait, plan, and manage their attention) predicted mothers’ positive parenting and coping experiences across the pandemic. The reason this happened seemed to be because of mothers’ self-compassion and children’s positive coping. Also, we found that mothers’ and children’s positive coping helped each other over time! We are currently working on publishing these results.

Are there any aspects of our study you are curious about? We are happy to take suggestions for results to share in a future newsletter!

Helpful Resources for Parents

Here are some fun activities that the whole family can enjoy during the fall and holiday seasons, right in Butler County!

  • Oxford Farmers Market- Shop the farmers market every Saturday from 9-12 for the best local treats! And keep an eye out for the BEAR lab, some members will be there to talk about our new research study!

  • Journey Borealis- November 19- January 2 at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum. Bring your friends and loved ones to this award-winning drive thru holiday lights display! Drive through a 2 mile round-trip magical winter wonderland of Pyramid Hill lights and monumental sculptures glowing with holiday spirit. This winter wonderland is a twinkling display of holiday spirit and magic. Journey Borealis will dazzle you with over 2 million lights covering nature and sculptures, transforming the park into a dreamy, seasonal sanctuary. The soundtrack for this glowing display will be provided by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Cincinnati Boy Choir.

  • Oxford Holiday Festival- December 4, 9am-9pm at Oxford Community Arts Center and Uptown Parks. The Oxford Holiday Festival is back and better than ever! Join us at the Oxford Community Arts Center for the Craft Market, Pictures with Santa, and OPRD Kids korner. Then head uptown to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the evening with ice skating, musical entertainment, carriage rides, Santa's arrival by firetruck, and MUCH MORE. It will be a full day of holiday fun that you will not want to miss.

This past year has been especially tough for parents. Here’s a helpful article about recognizing parenting burnout and some tips on how to overcome it:

Keeping in Touch with the BEAR Lab

We want to stay in contact with you! We would like to be able to contact you for help in future studies or just to tell you what we’re up to, so we would like to have your current address information. If anything has changed please let us know by sending an email to or give us a call at (513)-529-2411. You can also contact the director, Elizabeth Kiel, at or (513)-529-5430.

Be sure to check out our new and improved lab website! Here you can find information on our current research studies, the latest news and publications, and more.

You can now like us on Facebook! Follow the “Behavior Emotions and Relationships Lab” page to stay up to date on all things BEAR lab.


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