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Home > Majors and Programs > Psychology
  • Junlei LiDr. Junlei Li

    Associate Professor of Psychological Science
    Co-Director, Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media


    Headmasters Hall 408
    Fred Rogers Center 216


    Ph.D., Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 2003
    M.A., Instructional Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 2001
    B.S., Computer Science, University of Notre Dame, 1995

    Current and Upcoming Courses

    PY341 Research Methods in Psychological Science (Spring 2014)
    PY212 Child Development (Fall 2014)
    PY 373 Seminar: What Would Fred Rogers Do?
    PY 301 Supervised Research: Applied Research Experience at Fred Rogers Center
    CA 240 Public Relations Strategies (Guest)
    CA 255 Documentary Techniques (Guest)

    My Work

    Enriching interactions with another human being is the most important ingredient in a child’s development. Promoting a connected community should be the overarching aim of social advocacy on behalf of children. Real and lasting change can start with finding what ordinary people do extraordinarily well with children in everyday moments.

    These are the simple lessons I am learning and using from Pittsburgh’s urban classrooms to China’s orphanages, in creating digital tools and evaluating social service programs, in teaching students and developing practitioners. I believe sustained partnership across disciplines, professions, and institutions can make sense and use of research knowledge in service of children.

    Fred Rogers once said to a young MTV reporter, “I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex. Spread the word.” That’s what I hope to do.

    Please contact me for undergraduate and graduate research opportunities available in our “Incubator 143” R&D Lab housed in the Fred Rogers Center.

    Junlei Li's CV


    Research and Development Projects

    Noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary: a tale of one classroom

    Making Goodness Attractive

    Promoting Effort and Persistence in Children


    Representative Academic Publications

    Li, J. & Julian, M. (2012). Developmental relationships as the active ingredient: a working hypothesis of “what works” across intervention settings. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 82, no. 2, 157-166

    Groark, C., McCall, B., & Li, J. (2010). Characterizing the status and progress of a country’s child welfare reform. International Journal of Child and Family Welfare, 2010 (4).

    Li, J., Zeng, F., McCall, B., & Groark, C. (2009). Caring for orphans with disabilities: An synthesis of evidence based on China’s emerging success and research around the world. China Social Welfare, 2009 (12).


    Invited Op-Ed and Blogs

    Li, J. (2013). The willingness to fail. Fred Rogers Center Blog. Retrieved from

    Li, J. (2012). The tail wagging the dog: using technology in children’s learning. Remaking Learning: Blog of the Pittsburgh Kids+Creativity Network. Retrieved from