Christakis Lab

Welcome to the Christakis Lab

The Christakis Lab studies how the early environment impacts childhood behavior and development, and develops strategies that help parents optimize their children's social, cognitive, and emotional development.

Led by Dr. Dimitri Christakis, the lab's researchers have made a number of landmark findings. Christakis and his colleagues were among the first to discover that early TV exposure, particularly to fast-paced programs, can lead to attention problems in later life. Christakis's team has also found that playing with blocks can improve young children's language development and that substituting prosocial programs for violent ones can lead to reduced aggression and improved behavior in preschool children.

The lab's current research and clinical studies build on these themes and include a study that uses an Internet-based model to teach parents strategies that may help maximize their children's development. If this low-cost model improves behavioral outcomes, it could be scaled up to help families nationwide.

Investigator Biography

Christakis-Dimitri-2017-smallerDr. Dimitri A. Christakis is a principal investigator under the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute and the chief health officer for Special Olympics International. He is the author of more than 170 original research articles, a textbook of pediatrics, and co-authored a groundbreaking book, The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids. He has appeared on CNN, NPR, Today, CBS News, ABC News and NBC News, and as a TEDx speaker

In addition to his research, Christakis is a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital and a professor in the School of Medicine at University of Washington. He has devoted his career to investigating how early experiences impact children and to helping parents improve their children's early learning environments. He and his colleagues in the Christakis Lab have made a number of landmark findings, including discovering that young children who watch TV are more likely to develop attention problems and other health and behavioral issues.

Participate in Research

Help us answer questions about childhood health and illness, and help other children in the future. Learn more.

Contact Us

Physical Address

Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development
1920 Terry Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101