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About Rebecca E Eilers

Up to this point, my scientific interests have been in applied developmental psychology. I was lucky enough to be a young researcher at a time when extraordinary discoveries about the nature of infants’ abilities were underway. I began studying infant’s abilities to distinguish among the sounds of natural languages. At the University of Miami, I took advantage of the large multilingual population to extend findings to English- and/or Spanish- learning infants and children and to look at the links between language and literacy in bilingual children.
From there I branched into studying the effects of deafness and mental retardation on phonological development. I spent some time evaluating alternative hearing devices (hearing aids and tactual vocoders), first from a laboratory-based information transfer point of view and, then from an efficacy perspective.
After a break in research for an administrative stint, I changed my focus and re-specialized in adult clinical psychology. My internship was at the state forensic hospital where I developed an interest in trying to understand the impact of Axis II diagnoses on treatment process, outcome, and recidivism in insanity acquitees and sex offenders. I was struck by the fact that many of the individuals who were involuntarily committed (not guilty by reason of insanity) for serious crimes, had no obvious Axis I disorders. It painted a different picture of the “psycho criminal ” for me and I wondered about the efficacy of treating developmental (personality) disorders with pharmaceuticals. I found a place of interest and need where adult and child psychology merge.


Present Presidential Professor of Psychology, University of Maine Department of Psychology

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Contact Information

309 Little Hall
(207) 338-8024