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Janet DiPietro, PhD

  • Vice Dean for Research and Faculty
  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room W1033
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Johns Hopkins Fetal Development Study

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PhD, Stanford University, 1982


As a developmental psychologist, my research centers on understanding the origins of human development, the interface between individual differences in development and physiology, and the implications of the prenatal period for postnatal life. My current research program, which has been ongoing for over 20 years, extends this interest to the human fetus. We use digitized assessment methods of measuring fetal neurobehavioral functioning to investigate the ontogeny of development with the ultimate goal of predicting clinical and developmental outcome from the fetal period. Within this context, we are further exploring the role of maternal factors, including substance exposure, maternal emotions, and physiological changes during pregnancy in mediating fetal development.

  • Fetal development
  • Infant development
  • Child development
  • Developmental psychophysiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Temperament
  • Self-regulation
  • Heart rate variability
  • Fetal heart rate
  • Fetal motor activity
  • Maternal-child interaction

Selected publications over the last few years:

  • DiPietro, J.A., Costigan, K.A., & Voegtline, K.M. (2015). Studies in Fetal Behavior: Revisited, renewed and reimagines. Monographs for the Society of Research in Child Development. 80(3):vii;1-94.
  • DiPietro, J.A., & Voegtline, K.M. (2015). The gestational foundation of sex differences in development and vulnerability. Neuroscience, 2015.07.068. [Epub ahead of print]
  • DiPietro, J.A., Goldshore, M.A., Kivlighan, K.T., Pater, H.A., & Costigan, K.A. (2015). The ups and downs of early mothering. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 36:94-102
  • DiPietro, J.A., Voegtline, K.M., Costigan, K.A., Aguirre, F., Kivlighan, K., Chen, P. (2013). Physiological reactivity of pregnant women to evoked fetal startle. Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 75, 321-326.
  • Voegtline, K.M, Costigan, K. A., Pater, H. & DiPietro, J.A. (2013). Near-term fetal response to maternal spoken voice. Infant Behavior and Development, 36, 526-533.