For more than 20 years, Dr. Mireault's research has focused on various aspects of emotional development in childhood, including childhood grief from parental loss and temper tantrums as a manifestation of childhood anxiety. Her current research focuses on the perception and creation of humor in infants from 3 to 12 months old. Her research addresses the riddle that most parents encounter: how do babies know what's funny? This research has serious implications for understanding critical developmental milestones, such as whether infants are capable of a "theory of mind," whether humor can contribute to attachment security with parents, and whether infants rely on parental emotion to interpret ambiguous - primarily humorous - events and regulate their own emotional responses to those events.
NVU students serve as research assistants for this work and regularly accompany Dr. Mireault to professional conferences to present their findings.
Dr. Mireault has presented at major peer-reviewed conferences, including the Society for Research in Child Development, the International Conference on Infant Studies, the European Conference on Developmental Psychology, and the Jean Piaget Society. She has been an invited lecturer for the International Summer School for the Psychology of Humor and for the British Psychological Society - Developmental Section. Her research has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including Infant and Child Development and Infant Behavior and Development, and she has been cited and interviewed in multiple national and international news outlets and magazines, including The Huffington Post, Science Daily, New York magazine's "Science of Us," CNN.com, WebMD, The Daily Telegraph, American Baby, Parenting, and Salon. She and her work also have appeared on the NBC Nightly News, NPR's "The Takeaway," and PBS's "NOVA Science Now."
Mireault, G. C.,Rainville, B. S., Laughlin, B. (2018). Push or Carry? Pragmatic Opportunities for Language Development in Strollers vs. Backpacks.Infancy, 1-9, DOI: 10.1111/infa.12238
Mireault, G., Crockenberg, S., Heilman, K., Sparrow, J., Cousineau, K., & Rainville, B.
(2017). Social, cognitive, and physiological aspects of humor perception from 4- to 8 months: Two longitudinal studies. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. DOI 10.1111/bjdp.12216
Gartstein, M. A., Prokasky, A., Bell, M.A., Calkins, S., Bridgett, D., Braungart-Rieker, J., Leerkes, E., Cheatham, C., Eiden, R., Mize, K., Jones, N., Mireault, G., & Seamon, E. (2017). Latent profile and cluster analysis of infant temperament: Comparisons across person-centered approaches. Developmental Psychology, 53(10), 1811-1825. DOI: 10.1037/dev0000382
Mireault, G. & Crockenberg, S. (2016). Social referencing. In D. L. Couchenour & K. Chrisman (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Contemporary Early Childhood Education (pp. 1242-1245). Boston: Sage.
Mireault, G., Crockenberg, S., Sparrow, J., Cousineau, K., Pettinato, C., & Woodard, K. (2015). Laughing matters: Infant humor perception in the context of parental effect. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 136, 30-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2015.03.012
Reddy, V. & Mireault, G. (in press). "Teasing and Clowning in Infants." Current Biology.
Mireault, G., Crockenberg, S., Sparrow, J., Pettinato, C., Woodard, K., & Malzac, K. (2014). "Social Looking, Social Referencing and Humor Perception in 6- and 12-Month-Old infants." Infant Behavior and Development, 37(4), 536-545. (DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2014.06.004)
Mireault, G., Sparrow, J., Poutre, M., & Perdue, B. (2012) "Infant Humor Perception from 3- to 6-months and Attachment at One Year." Infant Behavior and Development, 35, 797-802.
Mireault, G., Poutre, M., Sargent-Hier, M., & Dias, C. (2012) "Humor Perception and Creation Between Parents and 3- to 6-month-old Infants." Infant and Child Development, 21(4), 338-347 (DOI: 10.1002/icd.757).
Mireault, G. Rooney, S., Kouwenhoven, K., and Hannan, C. (2008). "Oppositional Behavior and Anxiety in Boys and Girls: A Cross-Sectional Study in Two Community Samples." Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 39 (4), 519-527.
Taylor, D. and Mireault, G. (2008). "Mindfulness and Self-Regulation Among Short-Term and Long-Term Meditators." Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 40, 88-99.
Mireault, G. & Trahan, J. (2007). "Tantrums and Anxiety in Early Childhood: A Pilot Study." Early Childhood Research & Practice, 9(2). Retrieved Oct. 31, 2007, from http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v9n2/mireault.html.
Mireault, G., Thomas, T. and Bearor, K. (2002). "Maternal Identity Among Motherless Mothers and Psychological Symptoms in Their Firstborn Children." Journal of Child and Family Studies, 11, 287-297.
Mireault, G., Bearor, K., and Thomas, T. (2002). "Adult Romantic Attachment Among Women Who Experienced Childhood Maternal Loss." Omega: the Journal of Death and Dying, 44, 97-104.
Association for Psychological Science
Freelance feature writer for articles on animal psychology, American Kennel Club
Research Consultant, Bright Starts
NVU-Johnson Institutional Review Board, Chair
Infant social cognition and emotional regulation (via humor perception and creation)
Child and adolescent oppositional behavior as a manifestation of anxiety (temper tantrums)
Parental loss in childhood and adult depression and anxiety
Awards & Honors
Research to be featured on The Nature of Things (Canadian Broadcasting Company) documentary on infant laughter. 2018