Robin Sifre

Ph.D. Candidate

University of Minnesota

About Me

I'm a data scientist and statistician working at Princeton's Human Diversity Lab. I manage and wrangle data, and provide stats consultations for the TransYouth Project.

I received my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development. My research interests include brain and behavioral development, visual attention, and quantitative psychology.

I fell in love with research at Brown University, where I did my honors thesis on the different cognitive processes that impact how we make decisions. During my senior year I discovered the world of infant attention, and become obsessed with figuring out how babies learn to make sense of the visually complex world. That led me to a stint at Emory University where I studied how differences in visual attention impact social and cognitive development in infants later diagnosed with autism, and finally to the U of M where I earned my doctorate.

Download my CV, and my resume.


  • Psychology
  • Data science
  • Data visualization
  • Eye-tracking
  • Brain development
  • Psychometrics


  • PhD in Developmental Science, 2021

    Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

  • B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2014

    Brown University



I clean and analyze data in R every day, and love RMarkdown for sharing results.


Longitudinal data analysis, multi-level modeling, time series

Teaching & Leadership

Course instructor for Intro to Psychology, Graduate Student Representative


MATLAB, Python, and Java

Eye tracking

Eye tracking tech



Graduate Student Representative

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Sep 2019 – Jun 2020 Minneapolis, MN
  • I held town hall listening sessions to understand ways in which graduate students would like to see program improvements.
  • I then worked with administration to implement positive change, with the goal of improving the effectiveness of graduate training.

Course Instructor

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Jan 2019 – May 2019 Minneapolis, MN
Taught Introduction to Psychology to class of 25 college students.

PhD Candidate

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Sep 2016 – Present Minneapolis, MN

My program of research is multi-disciplinary, and spans the fields of Child Psychology, Neuroscience, and Computational Psychiatry.
During my Ph.D. I've worked on multiple collaborative teams, both leading projects and serving as a statistical consultant. My work has been published in multiple academic journals, and presented at international conferences.

My research projects include:

  • Applying machine learning to develop low-cost screeners for developmental disorders.
  • Collecting and analyzing functional MRI data to model brain connectivity in infants.
  • Evaluating survey data with factor analysis.

Research Scientist

Marcus Autism Center, Emory University

Jul 2014 – Jul 2016 Atlanta, Georgia
  • Worked in Social Neuroscience Lab collecting and analyzing eye-tracking data from infants and children with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Led project on early attention markers of ASD through conceptualization, analysis, and writing.
  • Results were published in peer-reviewed journal and presented at international research conferences.


Finding structure in the noise: Complexity & visual attention

Applying methods from Complexity Science to Understand Infant Attention


Capturing Environmental Dimensions of Adversity and Resources in the Context of Poverty Across Infancy Through Early Adolescence: A Moderated Nonlinear Factor Model.

Income, education, and cumulative-risk indices likely obscure meaningful heterogeneity in the mechanisms through which poverty impacts …

Longitudinal change in restricted and repetitive behaviors from 8-36 months.

Background. Restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) are core features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and one of the earliest …

Infants’ gaze exhibits a fractal structure that varies by age and stimulus salience.

The development of selective visual attention is critical for effectively engaging with an ever-changing world. Its optimal deployment …

Restricted, Repetitive, and Reciprocal Social Behavior in Toddlers Born Small for Gestation Duration.

Objective To characterize restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) and reciprocal social behaviors (RSBs) in a large sample of …

A Longitudinal Investigation of Preferential Attention to Biological Motion in 2- to 24-Month-Old Infants

Preferential attention to biological motion is an early-emerging mechanism of adaptive action that plays a critical role in social …