Brain images with white matter tracts emphasized

Language, Experience, and Development (LEAD) Lab


Please note: Much of Dr. Romeo's work focuses on how socioeconomic status (SES) relates to development. We believe it is mechanistically important to understand how experiences influence development in order to ensure that children from all backgrounds to have every possible opportunity to thrive — in whatever way thriving looks like. We are also keenly aware that this research, if misinterpreted, can be harmful. We do not believe nor assert that caregivers are in any way responsible for the malicious cycle of poverty. Nor is there a single “right” way to raise a child. We believe that the language we use when we talk about these issues matters, and those of us with undue privilege must keep this at the forefront as we communicate our research and work for change. We are constantly learning and growing, and we invite you to please contact Dr. Romeo directly with any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions. 


*Indicates shared first authorship

Journal Articles



  • Romeo, R.R., Uchida, L., & Christodoulou, J.A. (in press). Socioeconomic status and reading outcomes: Neurocognitive and behavioral correlates. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.
  • Romeo, R.R., Pezanowski, R., Merrill, K., Hargrave, S., & Hansen, A. (In press). Benefits and barriers to communication with infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Journal of Child Healthcare.  
  • Romeo, R.R., Flournoy, J.C., McLaughlin, K.A., & Lengua, L.J. (2022). Language development as a mechanism linking socioeconomic status to executive functioning development in preschool. Developmental Science.  



  • Pollack, C., Wilmot, D., Centanni T., Halverson K., Frosch I., D’Mello A., Romeo R.R., Imhof A., Capella J., Wade K., Al Dahhan, N. Z., Gabrieli, J.D.E., & Christodoulou, J.A. (In press). Anxiety, motivation, and competence in mathematics and reading in children with and without learning difficulties. Frontiers in Psychology. 
  • Romeo, R.R.*, Leonard, J.A.*, Robinson, S.T., Mackey, A.P., West, M.R., & Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2021). Replication and extension of a family-based training program to improve cognitive abilities in young children.  Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. 
  • Romeo, R.R., Choi, A.B., Gabard-Durnam, L.J., Wilkinson, C.L., Levin, A.R., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Nelson, C.A.  (2021). Parent language input predicts neuroscillatory patterns underlying language development in infants at risk of Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.  
  • Romeo, R.R., Leonard, J.A., Grotzinger, H.M., Robinson, S.T., Takada, M., Mackey, A.P., Scherer, E., Rowe, M.L., West, M.R., Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2021).  Neuroplasticity associated with conversational turn-taking following a family-based intervention. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 49, 100967. 



  • Hubbard, N.A., Romeo, R.R., Grotzinger, H., Giebler, M., Imhof, A., Bauer, C., & Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2020). Reward-sensitive basal ganglia stabilize the maintenance of goal-relevant neural patterns in adolescents. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(8), 1508–1524. 
  • Cychosz, M., Romeo, R. R., Soderstrom, M., Scaff, C. H., Ganek, H., Cristia, A., Casillas, M., Bang, J., & Weisleder, A. (2020). Long form recordings of everyday life: Ethics for best practices. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 1951–1969. 



  • Romeo, R. R. (2019). Socioeconomic and experiential influences on the neurobiology of language development. Invited review at Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups: Special Issue on the Neurobiology of Language Development and Disorders, 4, 1229–1238. 
  • Guell, X., D’Mello, A., Romeo, R. R., Hubbard, N., Schmahmann, J. D., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Gabrieli, J.D.E, & Anteraper, S. A. (2019). Functional territories of human dentate nucleus. Cerebral Cortex, epub bhz247, 
  • Leonard, J. A., Romeo, R. R., Park, A. T., Takada, M., Robinson, S.T., Grotzinger, H., Finn, A. S., Gabrieli, J. D. E., & Mackey, A. P. (2019). Associations between cortical thickness and reasoning vary by socioeconomic status in early childhood and adolescence. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 



  • Romeo, R. R., Segaran, J., Leonard, J. A., Robinson, S., West, M. R., Mackey, A. P., Yendiki, A., Rowe, M. L., Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2018). Language exposure relates to structural neural connectivity in childhood.  Journal of Neuroscience, 38(36), 7870-7877 doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0484-18.2018 
  • Romeo, R. R., Leonard, J. A., Robinson, S. T., West, M. R., Mackey, A. P., Rowe, M. L., Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2018). Beyond the “30 million word gap:” Children’s conversational exposure is associated with language-related brain function. Psychological Science, 29(5), 700–710. doi:10.1177/0956797617742725 
    • Most cited article in Psychological Science, 2018-2021
  • Romeo, R. R.*, Christodoulou, J. A*,  Halverson, K. K., Murtagh, J., Cyr, A. B., Schimmel, C., Chang, P., Hook, P. E., & Gabrieli J. D. E. (2018). Socioeconomic status and reading disability: Neuroanatomy and plasticity in response to intervention. Cerebral Cortex, 28(7), 2297-2312doi:10.1093/cercor/bhx131 


Prior to 2018

  • Tuomainen, O., Hazan, V., & Romeo, R. (2016). Do talkers produce less dispersed phoneme categories in a clear speaking style? Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(4), EL320. doi:10.1121/1.4964815 
  • Romeo R., Hazan V., & Pettinato M. (2013). Developmental and gender-related trends of intra-talker variability in consonant production. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America134(5), 3781 – 3792. doi:10.1121/1.4824160 


Book Chapters

  • Romeo, R.R. & Christodoulou, J.A. (forthcoming). How Neuroscience Can Help to Overcome Adversity in Education. In A. Holliman & K. Sheehy (Eds.) Overcoming Adversity in Education. Abington, UK: Taylor & Francis.
  • Romeo, R.R. (forthcoming). The neuroscience of early literacy development. In S. Cabell., S. Neuman, & N. Patton Terry (Eds.) Handbook on the Science of Early Literacy, 2nd edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Rowe, M.L., Romeo, R.R., & Leech, K.A.  (forthcoming). Early environmental influences on language. In S. Cabell., S. Neuman, & N. Patton Terry (Eds.) Handbook on the Science of Early Literacy, 2nd edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Romeo, R. R., Imhof, A., Bhatia, P., Christodoulou, J. A. (2018). Relationships between socioeconomic status and reading development: Cognitive outcomes and neural mechanisms. In S. J. Lipina, & M. S. Segretin (Eds.) Exploring the neuroscience of poverty (pp. 166-198).Erice, Italy: International Mind, Brain and Education School (Ettore Majorana Foundation for Scientific Culture). ISBN 978-987-86-2055-8. Full book in English and Spanish for download